Kyrie Irving had a night to remember on Friday against the Bulls.
The six-time All-Star scored 54 points on 19-of-23 shooting in 31 remarkable minutes at Barclays Center. Irving was 7-of-9 from beyond the arc and 9-of-10 from the free-throw line. He also added five assists and five rebounds as the Nets beat the Bulls 133-118.
Irving's 54 points are the third most ever by a Net in a single game, just three points shy of Deron Williams' record, set in March 2012 against Charlotte. He also became the first Net to score 45+ points three times in a single season, an incredible fact considering it was just his 19th game with the team this season. He is also the first Net ever to record multiple 50-point games in the same season.
Irving's night started with a perfect first half. In 16 minutes, Irving went 10-for-10 from the floor. He knocked down all four of his three-point attempts, including a buzzer-beater from well beyond the after stealing the ball at half-court to end the first half.
There were chants of "MVP" as Irving stepped to the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
With the game out of hand late, Irving was pulled from the game with just under three minutes to play.
"I'm just happy to be back playing the game that I love most," Irving told the YES Network after the win. "The most beautiful sound is just hearing these fans out here. Having my family here, it just makes it all worth it. The decision to come back home was well worth it. I'm cemented, I'm here, I'm grounded, I'm rooted. And I'm just happy."
Friday's game was a big one for the Nets, as the Bulls are entered just three games behind Brooklyn for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Irving scored 20 points on Tuesday, his first game back following sitting out Sunday's game for personal reasons after learning of Kobe Bryant's tragic death.
"I hit a few shots in the first half," said Irving after Friday's win. "So I had to keep it going, and Kobe mentality and Mamba Mentality."
Irving also pointed to the sky and pounded his chest after scoring his 54th point, likely a nod to the late Bryant.
Kyrie points to the sky after dropping 54 ☝️ pic.twitter.com/s8FAVKO109- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 1, 2020
A bucket. pic.twitter.com/57qOzASQ8o- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) February 1, 2020
Kyrie is cookin'- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 1, 2020
22 Pts on 8-8 FG in the 2nd 🔥 pic.twitter.com/2MAAvTnV9L
:black_small_square: 27 Points- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) February 1, 2020
:black_small_square: 10-10 from the field
:black_small_square: 5 points in final 5 seconds
:black_small_square: Buzzer-beating three
:fire: @KyrieIrving HAVE A HALF :fire: pic.twitter.com/Bv9mEbzGga
5️⃣0️⃣ pic.twitter.com/2s7rjLiz3M- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) February 1, 2020