Kyrie, Cavs Rally for Third Straight
Wrap-Up – You can’t be much hotter than Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers have been since returning from their West Coast trip last weekend. On Saturday night in Toronto, Kyrie capped a monster week, scoring 12 fourth-quarter points, including a deep three-pointer with 0.7 seconds to play to give the Wine and Gold the thrilling 99-98 win – their third straight.
With the Raptors leading by a deuce, 98-96, Irving walked the ball calmly up the court. When Toronto’s Alan Anderson sagged off him to guard against the drive, the 20-year-old All-Star raised from 28-feet and ripped the trey that gave Cleveland its third consecutive win – capping an 11-point fourth-quarter comeback.
Kyrie finished with a game-high 32 points, going an even 13-for-26 from the floor – including 3-of-5 from long-distance – adding five assists and four boards. In his Canadian homecoming, Tristan Thompson added 14 points and eight boards.
And for the second straight night, the Cavaliers’ bench – specifically their two newly acquired players – came up big in a victory. Marreese Speights was 7-for-13 from the floor for 17 points and Wayne Ellington was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc for 12 points of his own.
Turning Point – In an almost carbon copy of Friday night’s win, the Cavaliers were down nine after three quarters and 11 early in the fourth. But behind their second unit – including two buckets by Speights and a three-pointer from Ellington – the Wine and Gold went on a 12-2 run. Tristan Thompson’s tip gave the Cavaliers a brief lead, but they were in striking distance for the rest of the quarter – when Kyrie struck.
Game Ball – Kyrie Irving – It’s safe to say Kyrie deserves a nice Sunday off. The Cavaliers young star netted 40 points in a win over Boston on Tuesday, was named to the All-Star Game and won the GCSA’s Pro Athlete of the Year on Thursday and dropped 35 on the Bucks in win this Friday. To put a bow on his week, he canned the game-winner and led all scorers in the process.
By the Numbers – 35.7 … Kyrie Irving’s scoring average in the three games since Byron Scott has asked him to be “more aggressive.” In that stretch – all Cavalier wins – he’s shooting 61 percent from the floor, 55 percent from beyond the arc and 95 percent from the stripe.
Quotable – Coach Byron Scott, explaining his decision to tell Kyrie to go for the win instead of the tie on Saturday in Toronto …
“It’s just great coaching. That’s all that is.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers return to The Q for a Tuesday night meeting with the Warriors. They face the Pistons in Detroit on Friday night before welcoming Kevin Durant and the reigning Western Conference Champs to Cleveland next Saturday night.