Kyrie Irving leads by example to help Nets snap losing streak: 'Whatever it takes to win'

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts to a play against the Utah Jazz in the fourth quarter at Vivint Arena
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts to a play against the Utah Jazz in the fourth quarter at Vivint Arena / Rob Gray - USA TODAY Sports

The Nets picked their first win of the Kevin Durant-less stretch on Friday night, defeating the Utah Jazz 117-106. This victory not only snapped an overall four-game losing streak, but also Brooklyn’s six-game losing streak in Salt Lake City.

Leading the charge for Brooklyn in this one was a locked in Kyrie Irving, who put together one of his best performances as a Net. The star guard dropped 48 points, reeled in 11 rebounds, and dished six assists in the win.

Postgame, Kyrie told YES Network that he was just looking to “lead by example.”

“I was just staying poised, doing the little things," he said. "Whatever it takes to win, that’s the objective here. When my teammates are clicking on all cylinders it makes my job a lot easier. But when I’m leading from the front it makes a big difference.”

Utah carried a lead into halftime and kept things close for the first three quarters. In the fourth quarter, however, Irving decided it was time for him to takeover.

He dropped 21 of his 48 points in the final frame, pushing Brooklyn to their 28th win of the season. Irving is now averaging an NBA-leading 9.2 points in the fourth quarter this season.

This marked the second consecutive night that he’s scored 20-plus points in the fourth. He’s the first Nets players to accomplish that since 1996.

Irving said he tries to put himself in that type of zone every night because when the fourth quarter hits, it’s “winning time.”

“It gives me a lot of confidence in the fourth quarter to be able to perform that way. My teammates are looking for me as well. When the ball’s in my hands, you just want to get a great shot. That’s better for our team.”

After the game, head coach Jacque Vaughn not only acknowledged Irving’s fourth quarter takeover, but how he made his mark on the offensive end all night.

“You saw from him different segments of the game where he really put his imprint on what we were trying to do offensively. It paid dividends for us, especially in the fourth quarter.”

Vaughn continued: “We put the basketball in his hands. We played pick-and-roll. We gave him space. He made plays off the bounce. Early threes in transition. He did a lot for us again in the fourth. Good thing teammates rallied around him early in the game and we were able to take advantage of that fourth quarter scoring by him.”

While Irving knows it was just one win, he’s proud of the way the team fought to bring the losing streak to an end.

“Obviously it’s one win, but when you’re on a bit of a losing streak, everything could feel exacerbated, and everything could feel like it’s pressure," Irving said. "But, I feel like we’re rising to the challenge, and we proved that tonight on the road.”