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Salt Lake City – Kyrie Irving scored 48 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter for the second straight night, to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 117–106 win over the Utah Jazz.

Brooklyn won for the first time since Kevin DuranKnee injury due to Irving’s memorable finish. He shot 70% from the field in the fourth quarter and made four three-pointers. Irving was two points short of equaling Utah’s total in the fourth quarter.

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He made 18 of the Nets’ 43 shots, including a season-high eight three-pointers.

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“He’s just in a different world,” Nets center. Nick Claxton said. “He’s locked up. He’s in a different type of zone and he’s doing those big shots over and over again.”

Irving also had a season-high 11 rebounds and six assists to give Brooklyn the lead in both categories. He also took a couple of early charges.

“I put my body on the line and lead by example,” Irving said. “When I can force myself to play defensively and do small things, it really makes a difference to me and I’m set.”

Claxton added 20 points and four blocks. Royce O’Neill scored 13 points and six assists in his first game in Utah after being traded to Brooklyn before the start of the season.

Jordan Clarkson scored 29 points for Utah and Lauri Markkanen added 22 points and 11 rebounds. Colleen Sexton scored 17 points and Malik Beasley dropped 12.

The Jazz struggled with a transitional defense during the stretch, dropping 19 points in a fast break after the break.

“In the second half, we just weren’t focused on coming back and defending the basket,” Utah Coach Will Hardy said. “We got a little carried away trying to focus on the ball and let the guys get behind us.”

After Clarkson ended the series 10-3 to tie the score at 102, Irving and Seth Curry each hit a pair of 3-pointers to help the Nets take a 114–105 lead with 50 seconds left.

On the night after losing in Phoenix and falling 0-4 without Durant, Brooklyn took a 24-11 lead, holding the Jazz without a score for four minutes. In this stretch, the Nets scored 14 unanswered points, which is emphasized by three baskets from Irving. They started 11 of 16 from the field before their offense cooled off.

“I thought you saw him throughout the night in different segments of the game where he really left his mark on what we were trying to do offensively,” said Brooklyn coach Jacques Vaughn. “It paid dividends, especially in the fourth quarter.”

Utah cut a double-digit deficit in the second quarter after their own 14-0 streak to take a 38-36 lead thanks to Sexton’s reverse layup. At the end of the quarter, the Jazz hit seven goals in a row. Clarkson fueled the rush with a pair of baskets and three free throws.

Despite Utah holding out with Brooklyn until the end of the fourth quarter, the Jazz never felt comfortable on offense against the Nets’ physical defense.

“They were aggressive, switching from 1 to 5,” Clarkson said. “I don’t think anyone played us like that.”

Stephen Curry and the defending champion Golden State Warriors are making the same trip to Cleveland this season, and that was Friday night. It was also the second consecutive night for the Warriors (who had lost the previous night in Boston) on the final night of the five-game trip.

All of this prompted coach Steve Kerr to give Curry a rest. Clay Thompson, Draymond Green and other stars paid to watch by Cavs fans, only Jordan Pool played among regular Warriors starters. While the Warriors took the win anyway, Kerr resting his stars sparked a conversation that has flared up in the league in a season when many stars don’t have time to rest, not just injury.

“I feel terrible about fans who buy tickets expecting to see someone play and they don’t see that person play,” Kerr said via The Associated Press. “It’s a cruel part of the business. That’s why I’m going to continue playing 72-game seasons…

“You take 10 games off the schedule, it always seems like with 10 games left in the year, everyone had them anyway. It creates enough rest when we don’t have to get into some of those crazy situations. I think you would see players miss a lot fewer games.”

Just a few days earlier, Stan Van Gundy had commented on the trend of missed games on Twitter – and Kevin Duran had fun with him.

The model for this would be the Los Angeles Clippers, a team with training staff the size of a soccer ball that still sees stars. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George miss so much time that the team can’t pick up the pace and climb up the standings. Fans will remember players a couple of decades ago playing with these injuries, but Kerr said the team’s knowledge of their players’ health has changed since then.

“I know it’s a big topic in the league. We have much more data. According to Kerr, much more attention is paid to the vulnerability of the players. “It has been proven that if guys get hit back to back, players are much more likely to get injured and miss more games, which is why you see it all over the league. Everyone is careful when a guy gets hit. You’re just playing the long game.”

Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff supported these ideas.

“Look at these guys, they’ve been playing for 15 years and some for 20 years,” he said. “So it’s a five-game trade in a season and you get five more years of these guys playing. So I think in the long run the fans are getting their money’s worth because the guys are really extending their careers and playing for more years.

“I know from our point of view that you can only see the team once a year. I know it might upset the fans if these guys don’t play, but I think for the greater good of the game, getting these superstars and elite players for a few more years and a few more seasons is just good for the game, I think. ”

While the idea of ​​reducing the number of games is being discussed, financial considerations – at the gate, with regional TV partners – make this sale almost impossible. Adam Silver is trying to boost interest in the regular season with a mid-season tournament, though how well that works remains to be seen.

The bottom line is that star players who skip games are sending a message to fans that the regular season doesn’t matter, which could be a problem for the NBA’s business model. There’s no easy answer, but Kerr is far from the only one advocating a shortening of the season.

ANGELS – While the Lakers came to this late, it looked like a game where the Grizzlies were looking for a way to win the entire season while the Lakers were finding ways to lose them.

Dennis Schroeder had other ideas.

Schroeder knocked down a pair of free throws with 13.2 seconds left to cut the Grizzlies’ lead to one, but all Memphis had to do was get the ball inside and take free throws to take the win. Then it happened.

Schroeder converted a free throw and -1, which ultimately mattered. The Grizzlies had one last chance, but I am Morant missed the jumper then Memphis was bailed out when the big man from LA Who…



Source: nba.nbcsports.com

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