CHARLOTTE — Seven-time NBA All-Star guard Kyrie Irving had a performance for the ages in Tuesday night’s matchup between Charlotte and Brooklyn, posting 50 points with six assists as the Nets pulled off a 132-121 road win over the Hornets.
With 15-of-19 shooting from the field (9 of 12 in his 3-point attempts), Irving became the first player in NBA history to record 50 points, 9 3-pointers and 75% shooting in a game.
“He was special tonight and made tough shots,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said. “We double-teamed him. We had our best defenders on him, blitzed him in the pick and roll, and we switched our coverages. … When you have two elite players like (Kevin) Durant and Irving, you can either play one-on-one and let them go or you double-team and give something up.”
The Nets (32-33) controlled the pace of the majority of the game, outscoring the Hornets (32-33) by 14 in the first quarter and by 12 in the second quarter.
Charlotte trailed by 34 at one point in the third quarter before making an 18-4 run to trim down Brooklyn’s lead. Although the Nets ultimately won by just 11 points, the discrepancy between the two teams was much larger as Charlotte took advantage of playing against Brooklyn’s bench players in the closing minutes.
Durant scored 14 points with seven assists while Andre Drummond notched 20 points and 14 rebounds. Bruce Brown provided 14 points of his own for the Nets.
Terry Rozier and Miles Bridges each scored a team-high 30 points for the Hornets. LaMelo Ball added 24 points with seven assists.
“We dug ourselves in a hole and it cost us for the rest of the game,” Rozier said. “When we’re down 20, 25, that’s when we kind of play at our best — we try to fight back but maybe too late. We’re playing these guys like Kyrie and K.D. and they know how to control the game and they can score at will.”
Brooklyn was very effective shooting the ball, making 56.1% (46 of 82) from the field and 51.4% (18 of 35) from behind the arc. Charlotte shot 48.9% (45 of 92) and 31.7% (13 of 41), respectively.
After the game, Bridges said his team is quickly running out of time but that an aggressive mentality is always there to channel into consistency going forward.
“You just have to have the will to get up and say, ‘I’m playing today and I’m going to go out there with a sense of urgency’ and try to win,” Bridges said. “I feel like the more we drill down into each other, the more times we’ll come out ready to go — but it’s getting late. We have to do that now.”
The Hornets will now look to bounce back on Wednesday as the Boston Celtics (39-27) come to the Spectrum Center.