The Cleveland Cavaliers made their ESPN debut with Kyrie Irving tonight, and Kyrie did not fail to deliver a performance worthy of the event.
The New Orleans Hornets (who I will refer to as Pelicans from here on out because I can’t wait for it to be official) aren’t a good basketball team, but for most of the evening, the game was a back and forth affair. It started out sloppy and the teams played evenly through the first half.
In the 3rd quarter, the Cavaliers built a 10 point lead before their typical late quarter collapse allowed the Pelicans to tie the game before taking the lead after 3. After some sloppy back and forth play in the 4th quarter and with the Pelicans defense stiffing the Cavaliers offense, Kyrie came back in with 7 minutes left.
The rest of the game belonged to Kyrie. Irving did a little bit of everything, distributing to teammates, grabbing rebounds, taking charges, and yeah, scoring. A lot. And in often spectacular fashion. Irving scored 20 points in the 4th quarter en route to finishing with 35 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals.
Dion Waiters picked up where he left off toward the end of the first half of the season with 16 points on 60% shooting from the floor and Tristan Thompson came 1 point short of another double double. But this evening belonged to Kyrie Irving. The night began with Bill Simmons saying he thinks Kyrie has a chance to be the best pure PG of all time, and it ended with Irving putting on a show for everyone in the country who hasn’t seen him play a Cavaliers game yet. The hype keeps growing and growing for Kyrie, and so far he’s lived up to it. This was just a really fun night for Cavs fans.