The NBA is in the midst of quite the scoring spree, as someone is seemingly eclipsing the 50-point barrier each and every night since the calendar turned to March. On Monday night, Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves became the latest player to join those ranks, setting a new bar for scoring in the league this year with a 60-point outing against the San Antonio Spurs.
It took one day for someone to match Towns’ mark. Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets went down to Orlando to take on the lowly Magic, and Irving managed to put forth the best scoring performance of his NBA career. Irving exploded for 60 points in a 150-108 Nets win, one that was much-needed as the team tries to make a late push to avoid the play-in tournament in the Eastern Conference.
Irving started the evening by playing one of the best halves of basketball we have ever seen. The Nets throttled the Magic in the game’s first half, taking an 86-56 lead into the locker room thanks to Irving’s ability to relentlessly score. The All-Star guard had 41 points on 14-for-19 shooting while connecting on six of his seven attempts from three and all seven of his free throws.
Kyrie Irving has 41 points at halftime.
Read that again.
— NBA (@NBA) March 16, 2022AdvertisementAdvertisement
Over in Laker Land, all one of Irving’s old teammates could do was laugh.
Ky stop it man!!! Actually don’t
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 16, 2022
He didn’t just score, as Irving found a number of other ways to stuff the stat sheet, registering three rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Still, his scoring was the story of the evening, and his first half put him in rarified air — Irving joined Kobe Bryant and Klay Thompson as the only players to have a 40-point first half in the last 25 years, while Irving had the same number of points as Wilt Chamberlain when he dropped 100 in a game.
He didn’t quite match Wilt’s all-time scoring record, but a little more than midway through the third quarter, Irving got to 50 off of a nifty finish through contact by Wendell Carter Jr. The bucket marked a milestone, as Irving and Kevin Durant became the first teammates in league history to score at least 50 points in back-to-back games.
On Sunday, Kevin Durant scored 53 points.
Tonight, Kyrie Irving is at 51 (and counting).
They're the first teammates in NBA history to score 50+ points in consecutive games. pic.twitter.com/8Ee6nfcMOhAdvertisementAdvertisement
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 16, 2022
Despite being on the road, Irving’s ability to score got the crowd in Orlando fired up. That was especially true when he pulled up from way downtown and buried a three to get himself to 60 points on the night.
60 POINTS FOR KYRIE IRVING.Advertisement
— NBA (@NBA) March 16, 2022
Irving went to the bench after that bucket and did not return, much to the chagrin of Magic fans. With the team getting demolished, the Orlando faithful started chanting “we want Kyrie” after his night came to an end.
Magic are down 41 points and the Orlando crowd is chanting “We want Kyrie” who was benched after scoring 60 points pic.twitter.com/Do2lqMjiya
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) March 16, 2022
Irving’s night eclipsed the previous franchise record of 57 points, held by Deron Williams. On the night, Irving connected on 20 of his 31 attempts from the floor, eight of his 12 threes, and 12 of his 13 free throws with six rebounds, four assists, four steals, and a block in 35 minutes of work.
Unfortunately for Brooklyn, this is the last time Irving will play in a game for more than a week, as they’re headed back to Brooklyn for a three-game homestand and he is still ineligible to take the floor due to the city’s vaccine mandate. Unless that gets changed, Irving will next play on March 23 against the Memphis Grizzlies.