NBA

'It's like a walk in the park' - Durant lauds Irving's ability to handle the pressure

By Sports Desk January 07, 2023

Kevin Durant hailed Kyrie Irving's ability to handle the pressure like a "walk in the park" after he stepped up when the Brooklyn Nets needed him in a win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Irving was 7-for-22 shooting at Smoothie King Center on Friday, but sunk a mammoth three-pointer with only 43 seconds to play as the Nets secured a 108-102 win on the road.

Star duo Irving and Durant missed 32 shots between them, but Brooklyn made it 13 wins out of 14 on the back of a loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Seven of Irving's 19 points came in the final 72 seconds of the contest and Durant, who scored a game-high 33 points, saluted his team-mate's composure when the game was in the balance.

"He approaches it like it's a minute into the game," Durant said. "That's how calm and relaxed he is.

"Even though the stakes are different at the beginning of the game and the end of the game, I still believe that he's the same regardless of what the time is on the clock.

"He plays that way, calm and cool, under control under pressure in the tight moments. It feels like just a walk in the park for him.

"The great ones understand that each possession is important and if you stay even keeled throughout the whole game, you're usually in solid shape in the fourth."

Irving feels his ability to focus on the job in hand is crucial.

"Basketball's just a very simple art form," Irving said. "So if I don't bring all my extra distractions or anything that I'm going through mentally into the game, then I feel like we have a great chance of winning every ballgame."

The Nets are second in the Eastern Conference at 26-13 behind the 27-12 Boston Celtics.

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