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Kyrie Irving out for Nets Monday vs. Timberwolves for personal reasons

Michael Smith and Michael Holley debate how the NBA's race for Most Valuable Player is being affected by injuries and take a look at the current favorites, including Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

For the ninth time this season, Kyrie Irving is out for a game due to personal reasons.

Brooklyn announced Sunday that Irving would be out for the Monday night game against Minnesota for “personal reasons/family matter.” Irving sat out a three-game road trip last month for personal reasons.

Irving joins James Harden as out for the night (Harden is still recovering from a strained hamstring), leaving Kevin Durant as the lone member of Brooklyn’s big three to suit up for the game. Minnesota comes into the game on the second night of a back-to-back, having beat Chicago on Sunday night.

Irving was ejected in the third quarter of the Nets loss to the Lakers on Saturday, a quick-trigger ejection by the official after Irving was arguing with Dennis Schroder (there was no fighting or shoving, they were just jawing at each other).

At 36-17, the Nets are tied with the 76ers for the top seed in the East. Winning that top seed will matter because with three elite teams in the East — Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee — the top seed will face a lower seed while the other two of those teams will face off in the second round.