48-pointer from Kyrie Irving puts the Nets ahead of the Jazz to snap Kevin Durant’s losing streak

Salt Lake City – with three minutes left in the networks Friday night vs Jazz The result is equivalent, Kyrie Irving Screen came around from Ben Simmons 3 long arch is lifted from the top.

He left no doubt about her entry.

Just minutes earlier, Irving had dunked two more of the three seconds he scored in the 117-106 win against the Jazz, all coming from outside the arc. Stephen Curry, who will see it on Sunday, will be impressed. Finally, Irving finished with 48 points on 18-for-29, but his performance fell short in a game that snapped the Nets’ four-game losing streak, all without Kevin Durant.

Irving scored 11 rebounds. Took a couple of counts. He scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to play the Sandman (he entered the game averaging 9.2 points per game in the fourth, leading in NBA). It was one of his most complete shows as an internet and can be considered one of his most defining. During a period when he came under fire for poor shooting performance when his team needed it most, Irving sent a reminder that he’s one of the most lethal and capable scorers in the game and can project a show of leadership when the time calls. When asked after the game if Irving knew he needed to carry the Nets, coach Jack Vaughn didn’t argue.

“The fact that I thought you saw from him over the course of the night were different parts of the game where he really put his stamp on what we were trying to do aggressively and drive a dividend, especially in the fourth quarter,” Vaughn said. “We put the basketball in his hand, we played the pick and roll, we gave him space, he did the rebound, the early plays in transition — those threes are hard to protect, but he definitely did a lot for us again in the fourth.”

Irving was different Thursday, who sleepwalking through the first three quarters in Phoenix before scoring 21 in the fourth to crowd the net to close in on victory over suns A team that lacks star power due to injuries. that Irving fell behind to lead his team to victory. On Friday, he had 20 points in the first half, setting an early tone for a Nets offense that stymied when he had a bad night.

“I spoke up yesterday, just getting out of my own way and really thinking about the team first and putting my body on the line and leading by example,” Irving said Friday. “It’s one of those things where you can be one of the great goalscorers and you obviously play well on the offensive end, but when I can stay defensive and do the little things it really makes a difference for me and I’ve called. So I felt good tonight.” .

Since Durant went down with a sprain in the MCL nearly two weeks ago, the Nets offense has gone from first place in the NBA in December to the basement during their losing streak. While Vaughn said he didn’t want Irving to feel extra pressure to do more without Durant, it was shown at times that he forced shots and thought about his possessions when playmaking could have simplified him. But for Vaughn, the Nets’ problem was more of a mental one as they seemed to lack the will to compete, which he thought was more obvious than offense.

Irving’s performance was impressive, but it’s not likely to be repeatable, at least not consistently while Durant is out. The 6-foot-2 bouncer got help from… Nick Claxton (20 points) f Royce O’Neill (13 points), who played his first game at Utah since the Jazz traded him to the Nets in June just seconds before Durant’s trade request went public. Vaughn said the Nets’ mindset on Friday could go a long way if they can maintain it. Irving’s takeaway is back in margin of error.

“Just players play with confidence and don’t waver,” Irving said. “You know, we talked about it yesterday, but now is not the time to change anyone’s approach. You just have to do the little things to prepare; just lift up, extra time on downtime, get extra shots and be ready when your number is called. This is the best ID of our group, We just have to preserve it.”

Claxton’s confidence was on the billboard throughout the match. He dipped Walker Kessler He immediately stood up to him and later shook his finger at the no-contact ref. His streak of games with at least three blocks has reached 11, tying a two-time franchise record set by Sean Bradley in 1996.

Simmons’ confidence was a different story. After being sacked in Phoenix and having foul trouble in San Antonio, Simmons dodged the Jazz whistle and managed to play 37 minutes, tallying six points, nine rebounds and five assists. In 26 minutes together on Friday, the lineup with Simmons and Claxton outscored the Jazz 70-51 on 59 percent shooting, including 50 percent from 3. But their free-throw woes remain a liability. Claxton went 4-for-8 from the streak, and teams have recently increased the penetrations on him. Vaughn doesn’t see this as a problem.

“It was very aggressive,” said Vaughn. “He’s not afraid of being fouled as he steps up and shoots them.”

Simmons was the opposite. Instead of avoiding the whistle, he sometimes seemed to avoid the basket. Simmons had multiple possessions where he didn’t look toward the basket despite him being a few feet from it, and at one point Irving was imploring him to shoot. Earlier this season, Irving was caught on a microphone in Milwaukee making the same motion v dollars He did not deny it when asked later. “We’re just here to give him positive confirmation while he’s out there and let him curl up,” Irving said in October. “As he swings back and forth at it, we have to get down as a team in order to learn how to win as a group.”

Three months later, the Nets have learned how to win as a group when Durant is healthy, but Simmons’ situation has remained the same. It’s a sign that while Irving found a way to rally the Nets on Friday, it’s going to be tough to keep him going for upcoming games with Golden State And Philadelphia on deck.

“Obviously it’s one win, but when you have a losing streak, everything can feel like aggravation, and everything can feel like pressure,” Irving said. “But I feel we are rising to the challenge. And tonight we proved that on the road.”

Against the Jazz, the Nets showed they could win without Durant, something they struggled for a year earlier while he was out. Now they need to prove that it can be replicated.

(Photo by Kyrie Irving going to the basket against Walker Kessler: Rick Bomer/Associated Press)

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