SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Kyrie Irving scored 48 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter, and the Brooklyn Nets won for the first time since Kevin Durant’s knee injury with a 117-106 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
Irving accounted for 21 of the Nets’ 43 baskets by himself. He also had 11 rebounds and six assists, leading Brooklyn in both categories.
“That’s why he is who he is,” said Jazz point guard Mike Conley. “I think he would have scored on anybody tonight the way he was shooting it. We did try to throw different looks at him, and he’s the master at what he does.”
Nic Claxton added 20 points for the Nets, while former Jazz guard Royce O’Neale chipped in 13 points and six assists in his first game back in Utah since being traded to Brooklyn before the season.
Jordan Clarkson scored 29 points for Utah and Lauri Markkanen added 22 points and 11 rebounds. Collin Sexton had 17 points and Malik Beasley chipped in 12.
After Clarkson capped a 10-3 run with a driving layup to tie it at 102, Irving and Seth Curry each knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to help the Nets take a 114-105 lead with 50 seconds left.
“Credit to Brooklyn,” said Jazz head coach Will Hardy. “They played far more physical than we did in tonight’s game, and that’s why they won. While Kyrie played a great game and hit some tough shots, he’s a special player, us giving up 19 transition points in the second half is my biggest concern.”
A night after falling in Phoenix to fall to 0-4 without Durant, Brooklyn carved out a 24-11 lead after holding the Jazz scoreless for four minutes. The Nets ran off 14 unanswered points during that stretch, highlighted by three baskets from Irving. They started 11 of 16 from the field before their offense cooled off.
Utah erased the double-digit deficit in the second quarter behind its own 14-0 run and took a 38-36 lead on a reverse layup from Sexton. The Jazz scored on seven straight possessions late in the quarter. Clarkson fueled the spurt with a pair of baskets and three free throws.
Mike Conley dished out a game-high nine assists. Utah outscored Brooklyn 32-21 in bench points.
The Jazz next host Charlotte on Monday at 7:00 p.m.