NEW YORK (AP) – Kyrie Irving grew up in New York and New Jersey, so he knows better than most whether the Knicks against the Nets is a real rivalry.
“If the NBA calls it rivalry week, then it’s a rivalry,” Irving said.
Only a one-sided one.
Irving scored 21 of his 32 points in the final nine minutes, carrying Brooklyn to its ninth straight victory over the Knicks, 122-115 yesterday.
Irving’s sixth straight game of 30 or more points gave him a career high and the Nets an NBA franchise record. He didn’t seem headed that way when he was only four for 14 with 11 points early in the fourth quarter.
But he took over from there to make sure the Nets turned away every Knicks rally, including a deep three-pointer with 50 seconds to play after New York was within five. The All-Star guard also had nine assists and six rebounds.
“That’s why it’s so great to have the basketball in his hands,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said. “He can attack by himself, he can draw and kick and the defence has to react.”
Joe Harris added 16 points and Nic Claxton had 13 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for the Nets.
The NBA leader in field goal percentage shot six for six.
Royce O’Neale and Seth Curry chipped in 14 points apiece as Brooklyn finished 22 for 40 from three-point range.
The Knicks haven’t defeated the Nets in Tom Thibodeau’s two seasons and their last victory was on January 26, 2020, when Kevin Durant still wasn’t playing for the Nets.