Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving was determined to help his team end a two-game losing streak on Saturday night. After the Nets double-digit lead against the Miami Heat came down to only one point in the fourth quarter, Irving made threes, layups and free throws to help Brooklyn fend off Miami.
Irving finished the game with 28 points as the Nets won 128-124. When asked about what was his mentality down the stretch, Irving said: "It's winning time." Irving made a number of clutch plays in the fourth quarter and that ultimatately sealed the victory.
"I've always said that throughout my career," Irving sai, per ESPNd. "When it gets down to that point, obviously you just want to buckle down on the defensive end, get stops, and I felt like we did that."
Irving felt "humbled" after back-to-back losses
After suffering back-to-back surprise losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Irving said it was "humbling." On Saturday, the Nets stepped up against the Heat and avoided a third consecutive loss.
"We had two losses where we had to learn a lot very quickly," Irving said. "And we just moved on to the next night. And I feel like we gave the effort in spurts, and obviously we want to have more consistency in that -- and that'll take time.
I'm happy with the effort tonight." Meanwhile, Heat center Bam Adebayo finished the game with a career-high 41 points, five rebounds and nine assists. "It was about time Bam had 40 in terms of getting a lot of those moves that he's been working on in the offseason," Irving said.
"Just watching him grow since high school, be able to take over at this point for kind of an undermanned Miami team, it's good to see." 2018 NBA MVP James Harden scored only 12 points but the Nets still won.
"It feels good not to have to score so much to give ourselves a chance to win a game," Harden said. "I can go out there and just be a playmaker and shoot my shot when it's available and still get guys involved -- and still have a chance to win the game."
"That's a change," Harden added. "But for me just being the player that I am, impacting the game in other ways other than scoring." After the game, Irving and Adebayo wanted to swap jerseys but that is banned for this season due to the coronavirus.
"I just want to follow NBA protocol," Irving said, smiling, before adding: "I have the jersey, by the way."