DICK SCANLON – Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Kyrie Irving has made it two nights in a row with a 60-point scorer in the NBA.
A 41-point first half hasn’t been seen in nearly two decades.
“It just goes to show that we’re on our way into history,” Irving said.
Irving posted a career-high 60 points, the most in Nets NBA history, and led Brooklyn to a 150-108 win over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night.
Irving shot 20 for 31, including 8 of 12 on 3-pointers, in 35 minutes. He made 12 of 13 free throws in comparison to the NBA’s highest-scoring game this season, played by Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns against San Antonio just the night before.
“The night after Karl Towns put in an incredible performance and then letting Kyrie do it the next night, the league is in an amazing place right now,” said teammate Kevin Durant. “We see a lot of talent every night and this was one of the elite.”
Irving and Durant became the first teammates in NBA history to score 50 points in consecutive games. Durant scored 53 points in a win against the New York Knicks on Sunday.
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Irving had 41 points in the first half, the most in the first two quarters since Kobe Bryant had 42 points against Washington on March 28, 2003.
“It was really just about the team, just getting into the flow,” he said. “That’s the true purity of this game, playing it efficiently at both ends of the floor and coming out with a W.”
The guard exited the game after making a long 3-pointer with 8:33 remaining and leading Brooklyn 128-94.
Irving only played in his 19th game of the season because he is ineligible to play home games due to New York City’s mandate requiring vaccination against COVID-19, and reached the 50-point mark by scoring with 5: 02 left a layup turned off the glass in the third quarter.
“A few shots I probably shouldn’t have taken. Difficult ones, with doubles and triples coming,” he said. “But as long as I can do it with a smile on my face and my teammates weren’t too mad at me, it was worth it.”
It was the sixth 50-point game of Irving’s NBA career and the 16th 50-point game in the league this season, including two each from Irving, Durant, the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Boston’s Jayson Tatum.
He went on to surpass Deron Williams’ Nets record of 57 points. Irving has four 40-point games with the nets and Durant has two.
Irving scored 50 points in a 132-121 win in Charlotte last Tuesday. His previous career high was 57 points for Cleveland in San Antonio on March 3, 2015.
Irving had 16 points and three assists in the first quarter for the 48-point Nets in which they shot 74% (20 to 27), including 5 of 6 on 3s.
“When a player has a game like that, they can’t go wrong,” said center Andre Drummond. “He was rolling so it was fun to watch.”
The Nets led 86-56 after Irving’s 41-point first half. He was 14 for 19.
“Sometimes he shoots over two people,” said Magic trainer Jamahl Mosley. “You try to double him, he’s smart enough to know when to go and when not to. He’s fast in transition, so you can’t accelerate and try to deny him. They set backscreens. He’s smart enough and he’s seen every coverage and he knows how to play with pace. That makes it difficult.”
Durant added 19 points in the Nets’ fourth straight win.
Cole Anthony had 19 points and seven assists for Orlando.
Nets: Brooklyn shot 16 for 27 from 3-point range with Patty Mills hitting 5 of 7. . . G Cam Thomas (bruised back) did not play and G Seth Curry (left ankle) missed a second straight game. Coach Steve Nash said both players could be available against Dallas on Wednesday night. … The Nets have won three out of four against the Magic this season. Neither Durant nor Irving played along in the loss.
Magic: G Jalen Suggs has not played for the third time in five games after injuring his right ankle again on Sunday night. … The Magic announced that F Jonathan Isaac will not play this season, which marks the second straight season Isaac has completely missed since torn his left ACL on Aug. 2, 2020.
Nets: Play against Dallas at home on Wednesday night.
Magic: Play Detroit at home on Thursday night.
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