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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 05: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets goes to the basket as Alperen Sengun #28 of the Houston Rockets defends during the game at Barclays Center on April 05, 2022 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Nets won 118-105. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

NETS 118 – ROCKETS 105

Kyrie Irving has been waiting a long time to have a game at home where he could totally take over. For the first time since the employer vaccine mandate was lifted for athletes and performers in New York City, which allowed Irving to return to the court at Barclays Center, the point guard dominated the proceedings, dropping 42 points, as the Nets stopped the Houston Rockets 118-105.

In fact 17 of those 42-points for Irving came in crunch time in the fourth quarter.

“When the game starts to get a little out of hand or we have a big lead and let it go, then it’s time to put the foot back on the gas pedal and I have to lead by example,” Irving said.

The win proved to be significant, as the Nets climbed to within a game-and-a-half of the seventh seed, which is currently held by Cleveland. The Nets are right now in a three-way tie with Charlotte and Atlanta for the eighth seed.  Capturing the seventh seed is huge, because it would allow that team to have home-court in the play-in game, and the winner of that play-in game would automatically qualify for the playoffs.

The Nets lead 90-84 with 8:50 to go in the game when Irving took over completely. First he hit a 9-foot pull-up jumper to make it 92-84. A minute later he nailed a 26-foot three-pointer to put the Nets up 11. He was then a perfect 3-for-3 at the free throw line after getting fouled by Kenyon Martin Jr. With the Nets now up 14, it was lights out as the kid from West Orange made a huge statement on a big stage.