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Kyrie Irving’s 50 points help the Nets outperform the Hornets and end the slide

CHARLOTTE, NC — It was written all over Kyrie Irving’s face, clearly in his expression. The Nets had a must-win game and he delivered a masterclass.

Irving wore Brooklyn to a much-needed 132-121 winand did so with such a spectacular performance that he not only got Nets fans but also some Hornets fans cheering among the 17,230 in the Spectrum Center.

The All-Star guard poured in a season-high 50 points. He helped Brooklyn to a 34-point cushion and did it with such efficiency it actually looked easy.

“It felt like a must-win night,” Irving said. “And I’m not saying the other nights haven’t felt that way, but you just have to go to that deep place where nothing will distract you and there’s a destination nearby when you step out there.” I’m just getting less talkative and I have a look on my face where I’m going to do whatever it takes for us to get that victory and join a collective group and just make sacrifices.

His teammates could see that look, and they knew it was trouble – for Charlotte. After Irving played below his standards in Sunday’s loss in Boston – as Celtics fans chanted “Kyrie sucks!” and booed every touch – he rebounded brilliantly to break Brooklyn’s four-game sled.

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Kyrie Irving scored 50 points in the Nets’ win over the Hornets on Tuesday night.
Getty Images

It was impressive enough that even Kevin Durant, who had a quiet 14 points, could only clap approvingly.

“Everything he does is pure. It looked so easy,” Durant said. “I [saw] it in his eyes to start the game. You know he wanted to play better in the last game, so he came here and wanted to influence the game from the start. He guided us all night, he hit big shots when needed. And it was just an incredible, incredible achievement. … It was just a master class.”

Irving shot 15 of 19 overall and 9 of 12 from deep, historic efficiency.

It’s the second fewest shots in a 50-point game behind Adrian Dantley’s 17 in 1980. And it was Irving’s second 50-point night with 75 percent shooting. The only men who did it more? Wilt Chamberlain (eight times) and Michael Jordan (three times).

“He is unbelievable. It’s a career highlight reel every night. We obviously have a special player on our hands,” said Steve Nash.

“Especially as a professional in this game there are many positions that we have to react to,” said Irving. “Obviously I didn’t play my best game in Boston. I was recently quoted as saying I’m really emotional, and every time I set foot in there, it’s just the way it is. i am human We just wanted to make a fresh start.

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Kyrie Irving drives to the basket in the Nets’ win over the Hornets on Tuesday.
Getty Images

“I wasn’t trying to go out there and get 50, it just happened and the energy and flow of the game made it possible. That makes for some special team wins.”

This one will be special because it was so important to play-in positioning.

Brooklyn advanced to eighth in the East, one game ahead of the Hornets and Hawks.

Andre Drummond had a season-high 20 points and 14 rebounds while Brooklyn led by as many as 34 points.

The nets looked more closed early on than at any point this season. They posted their second-highest point total of the season, gave away 33 assists (two fewer than their season high), and hit 18 of 35 from deep.

It’s her best performance from behind the bow since Joe Harris was injured.

The Nets led 69-43 after a first half in which they held the Hornets from 3 to 3 of 17.

Bruce Brown (14 points, eight rebounds, five assists) made a running layup to replenish the cushion to 79-45 with 9:52 remaining in the third. Then the Nets took their foot off the gas.

Miles Bridges and Terry Rozier each had 30 for the Hornets, who never got closer than the last lead.

“We know we’re fighting for our lives every game trying to get into the playoffs and stay in the play-in,” Durant said. “We know how important every game is, so getting a ‘W’ is good. ”

https://nypost.com/2022/03/08/kyrie-irvings-50-points-help-nets-top-hornets-end-skid/ Kyrie Irving’s 50 points help the Nets outperform the Hornets and end the slide

JOE HERNANDEZ

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