Kyrie Irving netted a season-high 50 points as his Brooklyn Nets side ended a four-game losing run with a 132-121 win away to the Charlotte Hornets.
Irving, whose game time has been limited by his decision not to take a Covid vaccine, landed nine of his 12 three-point attempts.
The 29-year-old started the game in rhythm and kept knocking down shots all night, finishing 15-for-19 from the field, including 9-for-12 from 3-point range, and 11-for-13 from the free throw line. With the Nets entering the night having lost 17 of their past 20, Irving carried them to a much-needed win on a night when Durant scored just 14 points.
Irving said: “It felt like a must-win night.
“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.”
Irving’s offensive brilliance was on full display. He hit an array of shots from all over the floor as his teammates continued to look for him and help him get looks. Irving also chipped in six assists and two rebounds in 37 minutes of play. Many in the Charlotte crowd gave him a standing ovation after he drained a floater to bring his total to 50.