Thursday, March 10, 2022 1:24 PM | CBN
Kyrie Irving’s season-high 50 points during Tuesday’s 132-121 victory over the Charlotte Hornets was so awe-inspiring that teammate Kevin Durant devoted the first few moments of his postgame news conference to celebrating him with claps, and many kind words following the game.
For example, Durant referred to Irving’s Tuesday night performance as a "master class” - saying that younger players can learn by watching him.
"Everything he does is pure," said Durant post-game. "It looked so easy tonight. I look up, he had 10 points and it felt like he only took two shots in the first quarter. And I told Seth [Curry], I’m like, 'Damn, I didn't know he had it cookin' like that.'
“I seen it in his eyes to start the game. He wanted to play better last game, so he came out tonight and wanted to impact the game from the start. He led us all night, hit big shots when we needed to.
"It was just an incredible, incredible performance. Younger players, you should watch this game and learn what it takes to score at that level -- at 5-10, 5-11, for him to score that easy, that was just a master class.
Irving truly was one to watch in Tuesday’s content - his offensive genius on full display; knocking down shots throughout the entire night and finishing 15-for-19 from the field, which included 9-for-12 from 3-point range and 11-for-13 from the free throw line.
Considering the Nets entered the game having lost a whopping 17 of their last 20, Irving took on the role of a hero to carry them to a win that they needed more than ever.
"It felt like a must-win night," said Irving.
"I'm not saying that the other nights didn't feel like that, but you just got to go into that deep place where you just aren't distracted by anything that's going on and there's a goal at hand when you step out there, and I just get less talkative and I have a look on my face where I'm just ready to go out there and just do what's needed for us to get this win."
Another unforgettable play was when Irving made six assists and two rebounds in just 37 minutes of game time.
"He's incredible," said proud Nets coach Steve Nash.
"It's a career highlight reel every night. So we obviously have a special player on our hands, and tonight he was unbelievably efficient and difficult to defend, and although we'd like to think we had the game in hand, there's still possessions where he kind of bailed us out. ... He's just an incredible player, shot maker."
On Tuesday, Irving became the third player in the shot-clock era to score 50 points on fewer than 20 field goal attempts. This feat came after Irving struggled in the Nets’ previous game against the Boston Celtics on Sunday - a game that resulted in a 120-126 loss.
“Obviously I didn't play my best game in Boston,” Irving admitted.“I was quoted the other [day] just saying it was really emotional and just every time I step foot in [TD Garden] it just is what it is, I'm human.
"So going back, I know we'll see Boston again, but tonight we just wanted to have a fresh start, and I know that me coming out playing aggressive, it sparks energy in our team and it just makes everyone else's job a lot easier. It felt good tonight just to do it in the flow of the game. It wasn't really forced. I wasn't trying to go out there and get 50. It just ended up happening."
The Nets play again tonight (Thursday) facing the Philadelphia 76ers, with the Hornets playing Friday vs. the New Orleans Pelicans.