The Brooklyn Nets put together a flawless performance against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday and Kyrie Irving was right in the middle of it all.
The Brooklyn Nets are going to be without Kevin Durant for the foreseeable future after he came down with COVID-19. In their first game without the two-time NBA Finals MVP, the Nets stepped up in a big way. Brooklyn thoroughly dominated the Utah Jazz from start to finish.
Head coach Steve Nash shook up his starting lineup, benching DeAndre Jordan and Joe Harris in favor of Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, and Bruce Brown. The decision turned heads, but it paid off.
1st Quarter: The Kyrie Irving Show
The first quarter was all Kyrie Irving, who went a perfect 7-for-7 from the field in a dominant first quarter. With Durant out, it’s up to Irving to be the go-to guy. Obviously, he has a solid supporting cast around him, but he’s the star. This was exactly the type of performance that the Nets need from Irving for this next week or so.
2nd Quarter: Utah Holds Firm
After outscoring the Jazz 35-14 in the first quarter, the Nets gave their opponents a glimmer of hope in the second frame. It was the only quarter in the game where the Jazz outscored the Nets, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough to claw their way back into the game. Although the Nets didn’t put the Jazz away as early as fans might have hoped, the second quarter was not terrible.
3rd Quarter: Caris and Jarrett
Irving led the way early, but Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen did their fair share on Tuesday night as well. LeVert caught fire in the second and third quarters, shooting 8-for-13 from the floor and carrying the offensive load during that stretch.
But he didn’t do it by himself. In his first start of the year, The Fro outclassed an All-NBA center — Rudy Gobert. The French big man couldn’t keep up with Allen in the pick-and-roll game. The fourth-year center went for 19 points, 18 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. And did we mention that Allen was an economical 8-for-9 from the field?
4th Quarter: Cruising
After grabbing a 25-point lead through three quarters, it was smooth sailing from there for Brooklyn. They cruised to a 34-point win and were able to empty the bench for garbage time. The win moves the Nets to .500 on the year and this offers some assurance that the sky is not falling in Brooklyn.
Player of the Game: Kyrie Irving
There were a few guys who could have earned this honor on Wednesday, but we have to give Kyrie Irving some love. He went for 29 points, six rebounds, five assists, and three steals in just 29 minutes of action. He set the tone early and provided some much-needed offense for the Durant-less Nets.
Brooklyn will welcome the Philadelphia 76ers (6-1) to the Barclays Center on Wednesday. Philly is sporting the best record in the NBA and Doc Rivers has his team playing sound basketball on both ends of the court. It’s another test for Brooklyn without their alpha dog.
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