Kyrie Irving’s long-awaited home return for the Brooklyn Nets was not enough to inspire them to victory over the Charlotte Hornets, as they lost 119-110 at the Barclays Center.
He was finally allowed to play after New York City’s ban on unvaccinated performers and athletes was lifted.
The 30-year-old scored 16 points with two rebounds and 11 assists.
It was LaMelo Ball who stole the show, top scoring on the night with 33 points for the Hornets.
Earlier this month, Irving’s team-mate Kevin Durant questioned New York’s Covid-19 rules, which at one stage allowed players without the Covid-19 vaccine to watch matches but not play in them.
Charlotte have now won seven of their past eight matches, while it is now two defeats from three for Brooklyn.
Elsewhere, despite LeBron James’ 39-point haul in just 42 minutes, including nine rebounds, the LA Lakers were beaten 116-108 by the New Orleans Pelicans.
James tweaked his ankle in the second quarter, as the Lakers blew a 60-40 lead, making him a doubt to face the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.
The Mavericks head into that clash off the back of a 114-100 victory over the Utah Jazz, with Luka Doncic scoring 32 points, Reggie Bullock 23 points and Jalen Brunson 22.