On the night the Cleveland Cavaliers welcomed back world champion point guard Matthew Dellavedova to Quicken Loans Arena to receive his ring, their starter at the position showed why he’s one of the best in the league. Kyrie Irving directed traffic, attacked the basket, and showcased wizardry distributing the basketball in a comfortable win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
When it was all over he had compiled 31 points on 17 shots and tallied 13 assists to just four turnovers. The 13 assists represent a new career high for the attacking point guard, and it didn’t feel like a fluke. We are less than a week removed from Irving notching 12 assists against the Lakers. Might this be a new focus? Time will tell, but the results were impossible to argue with tonight.
Your Cleveland Cavaliers 113, the Milwaukee Bucks 102. The win improves the Cavs to 21-6.
It represents a two-game sweep over the Bucks that started with an overtime win on Tuesday night. In that game, both LeBron James and Kyrie Irving played over 45 minutes. Kevin Love was absent again, which led to heavy staggering of the two’s minutes. Irving finished with 35 minutes played, James with just 34. It’s likely that Coach Lue will challenge the Cavs to play well enough against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday so that they can rest during the 4th quarter, but this team tends to confound expectations, good or bad.
It was a rough homecoming for Dellavedova, who didn’t see much action in the second half, with the Bucks opting to go with rookie Malcolm Brogdon and Rashad Vaughn for stretches. He’s still looking to find his footing with the Bucks, and will probably ultimately look his best if he can move back to a bench role. The pairing with Giannis Antetokounmpo, which looks great on paper, hasn’t led to the expected returns just yet.
Ultimately the Cavs were able to win consecutive games over the young and athletic Milwaukee Bucks on the backs of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Love will return Friday. Perhaps it’ll be his turn.