And then, just for good measure, the Cavaliers beat the Lakers.
It was evident from the beginning just how much Irving was missed. Kyrie wasted no time in making his impact felt and the Cavaliers opened up a huge 54-39 lead at the half. The Lakers would fight and claw their way back into this game, and they set up an awesome 4th quarter showdown between Kyrie Irving and Kobe Bryant. In the end, the Cavaliers made just enough plays down the stretch to hang on and get the win.
Anderson Varejao fell 1 rebound short of yet another double-double but finished with 20 points. CJ Miles, starting for the still injured Dion Waiters, had by far the best game of his career with 28 points. And Kyrie tied Miles for the team high with 28 of his own to go with his 11 assists and 6 rebounds.
Kobe Bryant was incredible as always with 42 points, but it really did feel like Kobe was playing by himself against the Cavaliers. Credit to Tristan Thompson for some good defense on Dwight Howard, and Tyler Zeller was especially impressive on defense in this game as the Cavaliers were content to force Kobe to do everything himself.
Huge win for the Cavaliers and a huge morale boost to do it with Kyrie Irving back in the lineup.