In Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Kyrie Irving had a performance for the ages that has put the Cleveland Cavaliers on the brink of their third straight Finals appearance. He put on an exhibition of offensive excellence against the Boston Celtics, scoring a playoff career-high 42 points, 21 of which came in the third quarter (a Cavs franchise record).
A performance like this was necessary for the Cavs in this game, as the Celtics thoroughly outplayed the Cavs in the first half, and when LeBron picked up his fourth foul midway through the second quarter, the Cavs’ prospects of a potential comeback were getting slimmer and slimmer.
Enter Kyrie Irving.
Kyrie almost outscored the Celtics on his own in the third quarter (23-21), and his historic third quarter onslaught helped give the Cavs a seven point cushion entering the fourth quarter after having trailed the Celtics by ten at halftime.
Everyone in the building marveled at his performance, as the energy in the building became more and more electric every time Kyrie swooped through the lane for impossible shot after impossible shot.
There was a moment that put a scare into everyone when Kyrie went down with an injury, and his reaction looked grim. However, he hopped right back up and finished out the rest of the game, one of the greatest games of his young, blossoming career.
LeBron James has always known Kyrie is capable of these types of herculean performances, so suffice it so say he wasn’t surprised by what he saw from the gifted point guard.
I mean, the kid is special, and he basically was just waiting for an opportunity to be able to blossom, and I'm just happy and blessed that when I decided to come back that I was able to help him blossom, I guess, because he gets to play in games that he's always been built for . . . His game was built for it, and I'm happy, like I said, to be able to, I guess, sit back with four fouls and see him do what he's always been built to do. He was born for these moments.
LeBron wasn’t too shabby himself, scoring 34 points on 56 percent shooting (including 15 points in the fourth quarter) to help the Cavs stave off the Celtics to claim Game 4, but he knows the situation down the stretch could have been much different had it not been for the heroics of Kyrie Irving after he left the game with foul trouble.
Kyrie was struggling with his shot through the first couple rounds of the playoffs, but he’s rounded himself back into form, and the Cavs now find themselves one win away from advancing to the NBA Finals to face the Golden State Warriors.
If this is the version of Kyrie Irving the Cavs will be getting for the rest of the season, they’ll be in pretty good shape.