Nets star Irving talks up Vaughn trust after season-best performance against Jazz

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Kyrie Irving is enjoying the extra responsibility bestowed upon him by coach Jacque Vaughn in the absence of Kevin Durant.

Irving starred as the Brooklyn Nets beat the Utah Jazz 117-106 on Friday, scoring 48 points with 11 rebounds and six assists at Vivint Arena.

The Nets have struggled since Durant was sidelined by an MCL injury earlier this month, losing four in a row prior to Friday, but Irving stepped up to lead his team to a win in Utah, and when asked about consistently shooting close to 50 points said: "I don't think it's an unrealistic expectation."

The 30-year-old is averaging 26.4 points this season, and following his first 40+ point contribution of the campaign, said: "Every night I try to put myself in that place, in that zone. Specifically in the fourth quarter when it's winning time.

"I have the trust through Jacque to be able to make plays down the stretch, and he comes to me and we talk about it.

"I think we've been able to develop a dialogue, it continues to grow game-to-game so it gives me a lot of confidence in the fourth quarter to be able to perform that way.

"And my team-mates looking to me as well and when the ball's feeling good in my hands you just want to get a great shot, that's better for our team."

Vaughn – who has a record of 24-10 since being appointed head coach in November – was understandably pleased with Irving's efforts.

"I thought you saw from him throughout the course of the night just different segments of the game where he really put his imprint on what we were trying to do offensively," he said.

"And it paid dividends, especially in the fourth quarter."

Nic Claxton was Brooklyn's next-highest scorer with 20 points, and added his kudos for Irving, saying: "I'm really observing out there on the court and just watching him. It's like he's in a different world. He's locked in. He's in a different type of zone, and he makes those big shots time and time again.

"We just watch it and don't take it for granted, just having a guy that can create shots from all three levels the way he can."