Kyrie Irving’s 50 points help Nets top Hornets and end skid

CHARLOTTE, NC — It was written on Kyrie Irving’s face, clear in his face. The Nets had a must-watch game and he gave a masterclass.

Irving carried Brooklyn to a well-deserved 132-121 victory, doing so with such a spectacular performance that he had not just Nets fans, but Hornets fans among the 17,230 at the Spectrum Center.

The All-Star guard had a season-high 50 points. He helped scout Brooklyn from 34-point cushion, and did it with such efficiency that it actually looked easy.

“It felt like a must-night party,” Irving said. “And I’m not saying other nights weren’t like this, but you just have to go to that deep place where you’re not distracted by whatever’s going on and there’s a goal at your fingertips when you get out there I just become less talkative and have a look on my face where I will do what is necessary for us to get that victory and join a collective group and just sacrifice.

Her teammates could see that look, and they knew it was causing trouble – for Charlotte. After Irving played below his standards in Sunday’s loss to Boston – as Celtics fans chanted ‘Kyrie sucks!’ and booed every one of his touches — he bounced back brilliantly to break Brooklyn’s four-game skid.

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Kyrie Irving scored 50 points in the Nets’ win over the Hornets on Tuesday night.
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It was pretty impressive, even Kevin Durant, who had a quiet 14 points, could only clap in appreciation.

“Everything he does is pure. It looked so easy,” Durant said. “I [saw] in his eyes to start the game. You know he wanted to play the last game better, so he came here and wanted to impact the game early on. He led us all night, he hit big punches when we needed it. And it was just an amazing, amazing performance. … It was just a master class.

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

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

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

“Just like a professional in this game, there are a lot of positions where we have to respond.” said Irving. “Obviously, I didn’t play my best game in Boston. I was quoted the other day saying I was very emotional, and every time I set foot in it, that’s just what it is. I am human. We just wanted to have a fresh start.

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Kyrie Irving heads for 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 eventually happened and the energy and the flow of the game allowed that to happen. This makes for special team wins.

This one will be special because of its importance to play-in positioning.

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

Andre Drummond had a season-high 20 points and 14 rebounds, as Brooklyn led up to 34.

The Nets looked as consistent early on as they have anytime this season. They had their second best tally of the season, delivered 33 assists (two shy of their season high) and went 18 of 35 from deep.

It was their best performance behind the arc since Joe Harris was injured.

The Nets led 69-43 after a first half that saw them hold the Hornets 3 of 17 to 3.

Bruce Brown (14 points, eight rebounds, five assists) made a running layup to pad the cushion at 79-45 with 9:52 left in the third. Then the Nets eased off.

Miles Bridges and Terry Rozier had 30 apiece for the Hornets, who never came close to the final margin.

“We know we’re fighting for our lives every game to try to make the playoffs, to stay in the play-ins,” Durant said. “We know how important every game is, so it’s good to have a ‘W.’ ”

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