Feb 121, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) makes a three-point basket in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
Kyrie Irving has had quite a few performances that could be described as "clutch" already in his rookie season. He's just a teenager, but he fearlessly inserts himself into the spotlight when the game is on the line. He embraces the big moments and more often than not, he flourishes in them (feel free to insert your own joke about the Cavaliers last #1 pick).
He led the 12-point comeback to beat the Celtics in Boston and finished it off with that nasty game winner.
He had another nifty layup later that week to cap an upset of the defending champion Dallas Mavericks.
He calmly drained two free throws with less than a second on the clock to send the Kings home with a loss.
And most recently, he flipped a switch and masterfully dominated the fourth quarter against the Pistons to give the Cavs a 101-100 win.
Although us Cavs fans have come to expect Kyrie to step up in big moments, it's taken a little longer for most NBA fans to take notice. A good internet aquaintance of mine, Emilie Avanessian of HardwoodHype.com recently took notice of how maginificient Kyrie has been, despite playing in the media-created shadows of Jeremy Lin and Ricky Rubio. I'd strongly recommend his piece on Kyrie as a blossoming (blossomed?) star and closer. Here's an excerpt and do yourselves a favor by reading the entire thing here.
It’s apparent in his demeanor when he brings the ball upcourt, running an offense with the fluidity and implicit confidence of a seasoned vet. It is apparent in his passes – pinpoint lasers that more resemble nonchalant flips, rarely with too much mustard – and in his awesome first step, which he deploys with staggering quickness, while seldom veering out of control.