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Kyrie Irving closer to being full practice participant, beats LeBron in modified pickup game

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The shorthanded Cavs inch closer to getting their All-NBA guard back

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers are 10-3 and have the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs are tied for having the third best net rating in the NBA.

They have also played all 13 games without All-Star, All-NBA guard Kyrie Irving. So it stands to reason they could get even better. While there has never been a target date for Irving's return that has been spoken aloud, there are signs that Irving's return may come before mid-December. David Blatt confirmed yesterday that Irving has taken part in limited contact one-on-one drills, and 5-on-0 practice sets. Irving has been seen in traditional practice gear, and has worked out on the court before games.

According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com, Irving appears to be up to his usual tricks when he has gotten to play a bit.

Kyrie Irving played a set of modified 1-on-1 games against LeBron James after the Cleveland Cavaliers' shootaround Saturday and "destroyed him," a team source told ESPN.com.

They weren’t true games of 1-on-1 in the sense that only one dribble was allowed per possession, thus rendering James’ significant size advantage moot as he couldn’t simply back Irving down with his dribble and post him up. Games finished with the first player to score three baskets.

Getting hot from the outside with his shot helped Irving succeed, per the source.

This is pretty exciting, and it's the kind of thing I wish fans had access to seeing. Watching Irving and James mess around in practice would be pretty cool. It sounds like we are still at least 10 days away from getting Kyrie back to playing in actual Cavs games, but it's getting closer and closer. With Mo Williams doubtful for Monday night's game, it means a steady dose of Matthew Dellavedova, and Jared Cunningham gets an extended look.

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