Kyrie Irving's fourth-quarter excellence gives 'confidence' to Nets teammates
When the Nets entered the fourth quarter up by just seven points against the Knicks on Saturday night after New York ended the third quarter on a 7-0 run, nobody on the team was panicking.
Up until that point, Kyrie Irving only had 11 points while the supporting cast — Brooklyn was still without Kevin Durant, as well as Ben Simmons and T.J. Warren — were the ones who had given the Nets the lead.
But in the fourth quarter, Irving began to cook.
Draining three after three while also showing off that patented mid-range shot he loves, Irving completely took over the game and finished with a game-high 32 points.
“I think what people don't understand is the confidence that it gives the other guys,” head coach Jacque Vaughn said about Irving dominating the fourth quarter. “There's something to be said about that… It relieves some of the stress that could happen at the end of a game with the other guys. I think that’s really the key of having dudes who can just get you a bucket at the end of a game.”
Before Irving’s dazzling display in the fourth quarter, players like Joe Harris, Nic Claxton, Royce O’Neale and Yuta Watanabe were the ones who looked like they had all the confidence in the world.
In fact, as a team, Brooklyn shot 52.9 percent from the field including 55 percent (22-of-40) from deep.
“We’re playing well off each other. I don’t think we lose our focus when we’re down by a certain amount of points or a certain amount of possessions,” Irving said of his teammates.
Irving, who’s from New Jersey and grew up watching the Knicks and Nets play, also credited his teammates when discussing how that fourth quarter came about.
“When everybody is collectively firing, it's a beautiful game to watch,” he said.