Nets vs. Hornets Recap: Kyrie Dazzles for 50 as Brooklyn Stings Charlotte

Following a tough loss up in Boston, the Nets’ road trip continued with a stop in the Queen City to take on the Charlotte Hornets. Entering the night, the Hornets and Nets were tied in the standings sitting at No. 8 and 9, respectively, in the Eastern Conference.

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Brooklyn used a strong first quarter to set the tone for a near wire-to-wire, 132-121 victory. The Nets led by as many as 34 points in the second half with the offense firing on all cylinders, spearheaded by one individual in particular.

Kyrie is Brilliant

The story of the night was one man: Kyrie Andrew Irving. The superstar point guard looked to have completely forgotten about his poor performance in Boston as he came out of the gate firing. It was easy to tell Uncle Drew was in for a big night after he scored 12 of his 20 first-half points in the first quarter. He did it in typical fashion with some deep threes and tough finishes around the basket. Most surprisingly, however, he was getting foul calls as he went to the line six times in the first half.

Irving just got stronger as the game progressed. He started to rain down threes like it was nobody’s business, and every shot he hoisted up from beyond the arc seemed to find the bottom of the net. Even when the Hornets started chipping away at the lead in the third quarter, Irving put the Nets on his back to keep Charlotte at arm’s length.

The same was true of the fourth quarter, with Irving serving as a calming presence for Brooklyn as it tried to hold off a furious Hornets comeback. Whenever the Nets needed a bucket or shift in momentum, Irving was there. It was only a matter of time before he hit 50 points after he reached 40 midway through the fourth quarter, which he achieved with less than two minutes remaining as the final nail in the coffin for Charlotte.

This was one of those truly special nights for Irving and whoever got to witness it. When the smoke finally cleared, Irving finished with 50 points on 15–of–19 shooting and six assists. He also shot a mind-boggling 9-of-12 from deep and only missed four shots the entire game. It was also kind of ironic that Irving dropped 50 points the game after Jayson Tatum scored 54 against Brooklyn.

Role Guys Step Up

Many players stepped up alongside Irving, but surprisingly enough not Kevin Durant, who suffered one of his rare off nights. Durant finished with 14 points (6-of-13) and seven assists. Although he started the game strong, scoring seven in the opening frame, he was just out of sync. Some missed shots coupled with a string of careless turnovers had the Slim Reaper looking actually human for once.

Still, the slack was picked up by others, including Bruce Brown who continues his strong post-trade deadline play. The Nets’ Swiss army knife stuffed the stat sheet (14 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals) and had a hand in practically everything on the court. Whether it was gliding layups in transition or steals to spark fastbreaks, Brown was locked in from the tip.

Andre Drummond (20 points, 14 assists) was another Net with a nice bounce-back game from Sunday. The Brooklyn big was aggressive from the jump, especially crashing the glass. After getting smacked in the face early in the game by Mason Plumlee, Drummond asserted himself on both ends with some rim-rattling dunks and grown man’s rebounds. The team’s sharpshooting duo of Seth Curry and Patty Mills also showed up for Brooklyn, combining for seven threes in the contest.

Despite a lackadaisical approach for most of the second half, this was one of the more impressive Nets victories on the season. To get a double-digit win on the road, even with Durant having a poor game, is impressive. Then again, it helps when you have a player of Irving’s caliber.

Curry and Mills having open look after open look due to the gravity of Irving and Durant is something Nets fans hope they can get used to. And just think what this offense can do with Simmons at the helm.

The Nets will look to keep the winning ways going when they face off against James Harden, Joel Embiid and the Sixers on Thursday, a game that is undoubtedly the most anticipated one of the season.