If you thought that Kyrie Irving would forever be compared to Detroit-turned-Milwaukee guard Brandon Knight, think again. The Cavaliers All-Star point guard has a new peer in fellow All-Star John Wall of the Washington Wizards who wishes to get in on this discussion. Wall and his team got the best of the Cavaliers on Sunday night with the Wizards guard tallying 21 points and nine assists in the win. Irving, the Eastern Conference’s All-Star starter and game’s eventual MVP (much to the chagrin of Wizards fans—RIVALRY!), provided a run-of-the-mill 15 points (on 6-of-17 shooting) with five assists.
Wall, who was taken first overall in 2010, was asked about his game, the most recent round in what is bound to be a career-long duel.
“It’s always tough [facing Kyrie],” Wall said following the game. “Everybody wants to know who is the best young point guard and who’s the best guy in the Eastern Conference. We both do things great for our team. He’s probably a better offensive guy, skill-wise, and can basically take over games with his skills. I’m more of a point guard that likes to get his teammates involved and am blessed with the talents and abilities to get hot and able to score the ball. Guys look at every time we play as a marquee matchup, so everybody is going to be tuned in for the next couple of years.”
The Cavs kept it close with much of the second quarter being a back-and-forth, blow-for-blow contest, but the Wizards would pull away in the second half as the Wine and Gold managed to shoot just 26 percent from the floor. Cleveland was, once again, without Dion Waiters (who continues to nurse a hyperextended knee). Jarrett Jack, the team’s starting shooting guard, was just 3-for-11 from the floor, providing a minus-15 on the evening. Whatever “marquee” there was hoisted above this Sunday evening event, Jack ensured that the letters were dangling like a shoddy 7-Eleven by game’s end.
Irving, like his fellow backcourt mate, struggled through most of the contest. While Wall was banking in three-point buzzer-beaters, Irving (who previously averaged 30.7 points and 7.7 assists through the first three games against the Wizards) shot 0-for-5 in the fourth quarter with his only two points came at the free-throw line. He also didn’t have any assists.
“Time is of the essence right now, especially when we want to do something special,” said Irving. “We only have 26 games left to do it. There just needs to be a better sense of urgency, including from myself. I just have to raise my level, which I will do. We still have a goal in mind that we want to accomplish and we’re going to do everything in our power to do it.”