Cavs have another team meeting, preach “having fun”



Following the Cavaliers’ win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night, All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving provided one of his better post-game addresses in recent memory. Typical Irving interviews involve a slew of nervous ticks—face wiping, ear tugging—and are provided at a volume which can only be made out by those within a few feet. But on Sunday night, following a game-high 28-point outing that carried his team for the first two-game winning streak in quite some time, Irving was all smiles.

“(I) definitely had a lot of fun with my teammates out there,” said Irving following the game. “I feel that we had a great team meeting with all of us and coming out there, it was fun. Just being out there and competing at the highest level. At the end of the day, it’s just a game. Everybody is just putting too much pressure on themselves. We just need to go out there and just play basketball. That’s what we get paid to do and it’s a blessing to be out there.”

The meeting referenced by Irving came in the wake of Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert firing general manager Chris Grant. The team has, to this point, significantly underperformed, leading Gilbert to make a change at the top. Irving stated that the meeting between he and his teammates focused on relaxing and having fun rather than pressing and letting the pressure of losses snowball into a toxic broth of dysfunction.

“Going out there, waking up every single day, coming to the gym to put the basketball in the hoop, that’s what you dream of, especially at the highest level,” said Irving. “It’s what you dream of. Going out there for the last two games, it’s just been fun. Whether the game is tight or it gets away from you, competing should be fun. I feel like everybody is saying the same message and is going out there and playing for one another.”

For a sizable portion of the contest, Irving was flanked by shooting guard (and season-long question mark) Dion Waiters, who finished with 18 points off of the bench. Following the final buzzer, Grizzlies head coach David Joerger referred to the two guards as the “two best players on the floor.”

“[Dion and I] just being honest with one another out there,” said Irving. “We’re telling each other what we see out there and he’s looking to me for advice, I’m looking for him for advice for just different things we see out there. Earlier in the season, we probably wouldn’t have said anything to one another. It’s just continuing to get better and feeding off one another.”

Just last week, Irving and Waiters were considered the two players who could no coexist if the Cavaliers were to ever succeed—Waiters was reportedly kicked out of a practice. Today, Irving and Waiters are two high-octane, communicating players who are playing off of one another in rhythmic fashion1.

It’s amazing what a win or two can do.

(Image via David Liam Kyle/NBAE Getty Images)

  1. “Every time I get the ball, I tell Kyrie to run behind me or go down and come off the pin down. We just have to play off one other. I think if we do that, continue to do that, we’ll be way better,” said Waiters []
  • Harv 21

    Ugh. So the effort/ professionalism light starts flickering for Dion only when he watches his patron chucked as an offering into the volcano. Mrs. Grant has to be asking her forlorn husband this morning, “Why did you chose this profession? And why hitch it to this knucklehead, Chris? Why?”

    Also: I don’t care how his box score reads, or how unbelievable that and-1 was. If you think Kyrie has any intention (or understanding how?) to run an offense in crunch time, watch from about 5:00 left to the end of regulation. The mind closes, the vision narrows and out jumps Curly Neal incarnate, every freakin’ possession in crunch time. His game screams for a Larry Brown Point Guard Fundamentals boot camp, right now, before his next contract sets his hero ball mindset in concrete.

  • RGB

    Speaking of which…surely, Larry Brown could be coaxed from SMU.

  • Mike E

    Great points all together, but I don’t think Mrs. Grant really cares. This profession he chose has made their family RICH!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    No wonder McLoud and Carr were constantly reminding viewers of how many times Irving and Waiters smiled last night against Memphis.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    You just replaced LeBron James name with Kyrie Irving in the critique of the last 5 minutes. It wasn’t just him but he seems to be the one who everyone likes to point to just like LeBron. They won the game more like hung on for their lives just like against Washington but at least they won.

  • cmm13

    “Basketball is a game; and games are meant to be fun.”
    – Jack Elliott Motivational Speaker

  • mgbode

    If they keep up that kind of effort, then I’ll gladly join Team Cocoa:

  • humboldt

    As usual, The Simpsons provide the only appropriate response to this:

  • mgbode

    it’s a tough way to sleep, but someone has to do it.

    oh, sorta important note: Kyrie is donating at least some (if not most/all?) of this endorsement money to his non-profit campaign “Best Buddies” and is also utilizing it to help bring in more money and volunteers to the program.

  • humboldt

    Good to know. Despite all the sturm und drang of this season I still believe in Kyrie. He has some growing to do but seems like a decent guy. He visited the foster home my mom works at over the summer and made an indelible impression on everyone who came in contact with him. Hoping for the best…

  • mgbode

    Yes, like all men, he has his faults, but he seems like a good guy and I believe he will make his talents by the end of his career. It’s not an easy climb to get there, which is what he is figuring out now.