NBA roundup: Kyrie smashes points record in huge Nets win, Grizzlies maul pacers
Orlando, Florida - Another road game, and another virtuoso performance from Kyrie Irving in the Brooklyn Nets' 150-108 win over the Orlando Magic.
Unable to play in home games due to New York's vaccine mandate, Irving made the most of Brooklyn's trip to Orlando, scoring a ridiculous 41 points (14-19 from the field) in just the first half.
In an explosive team performance, the Nets scored 48 points in the first quarter, while Irving and Kevin Durant combined for 26. Irving went on to score another 25 of his side's 38 in the second period.
Irving eventually sat with more than eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter, with his team up by 37 and his personal tally at a career-best 60 points on 20-31 shooting, 8-12 from the perimeter and 12-13 from the free-throw line.
It also sets a new franchise record for the Nets, beating Deron Williams' 57 back in 2012.
Irving's previous high-scores were 57 points and 55 points, which he scored within two months of each other in the 2014-15 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Around the league
Missing superstar point guard and Most Valuable Player contender Ja Morant, the Memphis Grizzlies didn't skip a beat, leaning on second-year guard Desmond Bane.
Bane showed his versatility, scoring an efficient 21 points (7-12 from the field, 4-7 from three) in 23 minutes to go with six assists and four rebounds as the Grizzlies blew out the Indiana Pacers 135-102.
Demonstrating both Memphis' beautiful offensive system and the Pacers' lack of defensive cohesion, the Grizzlies scored at least 30 points in all four quarters and headed into half-time leading 77-49.
Defensive Player of the Year candidate Jaren Jackson Jr. continued to add to his resume, swatting three shots and snatching two steals to go with his 19 points (8-16 from the field) and eight rebounds (four offensive).
Another solid performance from Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker guided his side to a relatively comfortable 131-115 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Booker finished with 27 points (11-20 shooting, 4-9 from three) to go with his eight assists as the Suns were able to withstand a third-quarter surge which saw the Pelicans close the gap to 73-72 on the back of one of rookie standout Herb Jones' best performances of the season.
Jones, a defensive specialist who was selected at pick-35 in the 2021 NBA Draft, scored 22 points on 7-11 shooting, including going 3-6 from long range, and also collected three steals as he continues making his case for All-Rookie First Team honors.
Meanwhile, at the FTX Arena, the Miami Heat were down 68-73 at three-quarter time in their clash against a frisky Detroit Pistons outfit that was missing number-one overall pick Cade Cunningham.
After only scoring 11 points in the third period, the Heat responded in style, scoring 37 in the final frame as bench shooter Max Strus (16 points on 6-9 shooting) rattled off Miami's first 13 points, setting the table for Tyler Herro to close the show for a final 105-98 win.
On a night where injury-plagued cornerstone Jimmy Butler was forced to leave early with an ankle sprain, Herro picked up the slack in a big way, scoring 29 points on 8-15 shooting (4-8 from three, 9-11 from the free-throw line) including a dagger three to extend Miami's lead to five points with under two minutes to play.
Rookie second-round pick Isaiah Livers caught the eye off Detroit's bench, scoring 16 points on 6-7 shooting (4-5 from three) and grabbing six rebounds.
Cover photo: IMAGO / Sports Press Photo