Who didn’t love Cleveland Kyrie? The dude was awesome. He was the number one draft pick by the Cavs in 2011, and played six seasons in Cleveland before requesting a trade in the summer of 2017. Even though it didn’t end pretty, Kyrie’s career with the Cavs had some special moments. No question in my mind that one day Kyrie’s jersey will be hanging in the rafters of the Q. Yes, I know the Cavs changed the stadium name to Rocket Mortgage Field House, but I refuse to call it that. The stadium will always be the Quicken Loans Arena, and I will always call it the Q. Anyways, Kyrie is no doubt one of the best players in the franchise’s history. During his time in Cleveland, Irving made four all-star games, was rookie of the year in 2012, and oh yeah, helped the team win the only title in franchise history. Let’s relive some of these incredible performances.
January 28th, 2015 vs Portland:
Kyrie had countless special performances in Cleveland and his 55-point game versus Portland is sure as hell one of them. Kyrie went ballistic against the Blazers, hitting 11 three-pointers that night, a Cavs record. His 11th triple was the game-winner. Irving totaled for 55 points in just 39 minutes of play, becoming the 10th player to score 50 or more in less than 40 minutes of play.
March 12th, 2015 vs San Antonio:
This is Irving’s best game statistically speaking. Irving WENT off this night in San Antonio, managing a franchise record 57 points, going 7-7 from deep (one of those three’s was the game tying three at the end of regulation), and 10-10 from the free-throw line. Add five assists, three rebounds and four steals, that’s a pretty insane performance. Then Irving scored the Cavs first seven points in overtime, leading them to a 128-125 victory over the defending NBA champions.
Game Four ECF 2017 vs Boston:
This might be my favorite Kyrie game. It’s not his best game by any means but given the situation, this performance was special. The Cavaliers just gave up game three at home, still leading the series 2-1 with game four in Cleveland. The Celtics started hot, taking a 16-point lead in the first half. Lebron had to sit for most of the second quarter due to foul trouble. The Cavs were in trouble, but then Kyrie stepped up. Irving scored a playoff career-high 42 points, on 68% shooting from the field. 21 of those 42 points came in the third quarter alone. This performance propelled the Cavs to a commanding 3-1 lead. The Cavs wrapped up the series a game later in Boston.
NBA Finals Game Five 2016 vs Golden State:
Ah yes, the Kyrie and Lebron game. The Cavs went into game five with almost no hope to win the series. The Cavs entered the game down 3-1, no team has ever come back from 3-1 in the finals. The Cavs needed a superhero-like performance from Kyrie, and that’s exactly what they got. Kyrie scored 41 shooting a crazy 70% from the field, and 71% from three-point land. Lebron also scored 41 in game five, the first time a pair of teammates scored 40 or more in a finals game. Thanks To Kyrie and Lebron, The Cavs saved their season, winning 112-97.
NBA Finals Game Seven 2016 vs Golden State:
Okay, this is my favorite Kyrie game, the game he became a champion. Again, this isn’t Kyrie’s best game statistically speaking, but this was the biggest game of his career, in the biggest moment of his career. The Cavs were searching for their first title ever. Going up against the best team ever record-wise, in game seven of the finals. Kyrie didn’t shy from the big stage. In a career defining game, Irving had 26 points to go along with six rebounds, one steal, and one block. The game was tied at 89 with a minute left, nobody had scored since the 4:39 mark. It felt like the next team to score would win. The Cavs needed a bucket, and Kyrie got them just that.
What a big-time shot by Kyrie. I mean talk about being clutch, game seven of the finals, game tied up, and you hit the go-ahead basket? Doesn’t get more clutch than that. Thanks to that shot, the Cavs beat the Warriors. Winning the franchise’s first championship ever. Kyrie was magnificent throughout the whole series. Irving went for 27/4/4, plus two steals a game. All while out playing unanimous MVP, Steph Curry. Irving was special in the 2016 finals.
Man, Kyrie was awesome in Cleveland. No matter what you think of Irving’s off the court antics, you have to admit he is sure one hell of a basketball player. Fun as hell to watch too. I miss Kyrie in Cleveland so much, please come back one day Kyrie!