NEW YORK — With a as soon as double-digit lead whittled right down to only one level within the last quarter of the Brooklyn Nets‘ Saturday evening recreation towards the Miami Heat, Kyrie Irving took over. He splashed in clutch 3-pointers, had driving layups and made key free throws to assist elevate the Nets to a 128-124 victory.
Down the stretch, Irving mentioned his mentality was: “It is profitable time.”
“I’ve at all times mentioned that all through my profession,” Irving mentioned. “When it will get right down to that time, clearly you simply wish to buckle down on the defensive finish, get stops, and I felt like we did that.”
The win snapped a two-game dropping streak for the Nets, who dropped a pair of video games on the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this week. Irving’s 18 fourth-quarter factors had been probably the most he has scored in a last quarter since becoming a member of Brooklyn.
“We had two losses the place we needed to be taught rather a lot in a short time,” Irving mentioned. “And we simply moved on to the subsequent evening. And I really feel like we gave the trouble in spurts, and clearly we wish to have extra consistency in that — and that’ll take time. I am proud of the trouble tonight.”
Bam Adebayo completed with a career-high 41 factors, 5 rebounds and 9 assists for the Warmth.
“It was about time Bam had 40 by way of getting a whole lot of these strikes that he is been engaged on within the offseason,” Irving mentioned. “Simply watching him develop since highschool, be capable of take over at this level for sort of an undermanned Miami staff, it is good to see.”
The Nets got here into Saturday’s recreation with the objective of enhancing defensively. Whereas they could not totally include Adebayo, there have been glimmers of enchancment.
After being outrebounded 50-29 on Friday in Cleveland, the Nets buckled down in defensive rebounding towards the Warmth. Brooklyn had an 81.3% defensive rebound price on Saturday — its third highest in a recreation this season — as in comparison with simply 58.1% the evening earlier than.
Nets coach Steve Nash continued to experiment with lineups involving the staff’s three All-Stars. Harden performed 11 minutes with each Durant and Irving on the bench. And whereas Harden’s 12 factors had been his fewest since January 2020, his 5 straight video games with double-digit assists have already tied for the fourth longest such streak in Nets historical past.
“It feels good to not have to attain a lot to present ourselves an opportunity to win a recreation,” Harden mentioned. “I can go on the market and simply be a playmaker and shoot my shot when it is out there and nonetheless get guys concerned — and nonetheless have an opportunity to win the sport.”
“That is a change,” Harden added. “However for me simply being the participant that I’m, impacting the sport in different methods apart from scoring.”
After the competition, Irving and Adebayo tried to swap jerseys on the court docket, earlier than a Warmth safety guard ushered Adebayo away. This season, swapping jerseys on the court docket is a violation of the NBA’s coronavirus well being and security guidelines.
“I simply wish to comply with NBA protocol,” Irving mentioned, smiling, earlier than including: “I’ve the jersey, by the way in which.”