Kyrie Irving scores 48 points and leads the Nets to victory with clutch heroics

On Friday night, Kyrie Irving scored 48 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter, to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a much-needed victory over the Utah Jazz.

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The most remarkable portion of Kyrie Irving’s 48-point effort on Friday night came about an hour later when he led the Brooklyn Nets to a much-needed 117-106 victory over the Utah Jazz.

In the midst of narrating the most defining game of his star-crossed season, a reporter prefaced a question regarding the team’s expectations in the aftermath of Kevin Durant’s absence, saying that it was probably unrealistic to expect Irving to go off for close to 50 points every night.

Irving interrupted his own response before the inquiry was even completed. “I don’t believe it’s an unrealistic expectation,” he assured me.

Part of the allure and mystique of Irving’s talent on the court stems from the confidence he takes to the court each night. He feels he can perform no matter what the circumstances are or who his teammates are on any given night. 

During the Nets’ four-game losing run, it hasn’t always been the case, but it was on Friday.

On the second night of a back-to-back, Irving ended with a season-high in points while also contributing 11 rebounds, six assists, and four steals in 39 minutes. 

While the Nets continue to play without Durant for the next several weeks as he recovers from an MCL injury in his right knee, Irving has taken on the role of leader for a struggling team that looks up to him.

“Every night, I try to put myself in that zone,” Irving said. “Especially in the fourth quarter, when the game is on the line. 

But I simply believe the way we started the game made a big difference today, and the way we concluded made me feel like we matured as a team.”

The Nets, who have battled to establish an offensive rhythm without Durant, needed every bit of Irving’s shooting magic on Friday, especially the two critical threes he nailed in the last two minutes to help seal the game. Irving scored 21 points in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s defeat to the Phoenix Suns, then added 21 more in the fourth quarter of Friday’s loss to the Jazz.

“I’m really observing out there on the floor tonight, Thursday night, and just watching him,” Nets big man Nic Claxton said. “It’s as though he’s in another universe. 

He’s committed. He’s in another kind of zone. And he makes those huge shots time after again.

And we simply observe it and don’t take it for granted, having a man like him who can generate shots from all three levels.”

“That’s what he does,” said Nets swingman Royce O’Neale. “He’s been doing it for the past year. 

He’s guiding us right now, and we’re following. We trust him, and he trusts us, so seeing him go off like that is always great.”

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