Nets guard Kyrie Irving talks to guard Spencer Dinwiddie during...

Nets guard Kyrie Irving talks to guard Spencer Dinwiddie during the first half against the Detroit Pistons at Barclays Center on Wednesday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

There was something touching, maybe a little bit poetic about Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie coming out of the game together and sharing a heartfelt hug near the end of the Nets’ win over the Pistons Wednesday night at Barclays Center. They shared a common bond with the late Kobe Bryant, and they honored his memory with their play, combining for 48 points in the first game played at Barclays since Bryant, daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash on Sunday in Los Angeles.

Approached by a television interviewer after the game, Irving was asked to describe Dinwiddie’s 28-point effort. “It’s big-time,” Irving said. “When you’re a basketball player and you’re able to make the right plays and play at a high-intensity level and really come out and make an impact on the game no matter if you’re starting or coming off the bench, we’ve seen special guys do that.

“We’re still finding what our team identity looks like, and that’s a good thing for us. It’s a test every single night. I’m glad we came out and handled business. It was a good win.”

Later on, in the locker room, Dinwiddie noted that news of Bryant’s death was harder on Irving than anyone because of his deep relationship with Bryant. Irving sat out Sunday night against the Knicks hours after the crash because he was grief-stricken, but he scored 20 points against the Pistons and made all the hustle plays.

“Kyrie is our leader,” Dinwiddie said. “He did a phenomenal job leading us, picking his spots, scoring when we needed it, passing when we needed it. He put us in the right positions and called the right plays. He put the team first. We appreciated it. Obviously, it’s hardest on him out of anybody in the locker room, and he led us to a win.”

Both Irving and Dinwiddie were strong contenders to make the Eastern Conference All-Star team, but neither was among the seven reserves named Thursday night even though Irving had been third in voting by fans, players and media at guard when the starters were announced a week earlier while Dinwiddie was 10th. But the Nets (20-26) will count on those two players to lead a second-half turnaround, starting against the Bulls Friday night at Barclays Center.

The challenge for both will be to maintain focus on a professional level. Irving couldn’t help but reflect on the death of his grandfather early last season with the Celtics and how that depression affected him.

“You lose two great leaders in your life,” Irving said. “It’s not easy to just turn the page and flip a switch.”

At the same time, Dinwiddie said the Nets might take strength from leaning on each other at time of tragedy and improve as they grow healthier. “I think any type of hardship tends to do that for a group, and then, the magnitude of the hardship tends to drive you closer together,” Dinwiddie said. “I think it’s going to galvanize the group, but we also have to try to keep our focus where it needs to be in terms of our own issues.”

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