When Kyrie Irving has the basketball, the percentages of something exciting happening is fairly high. The wizardry he displays with the rock is second to none. In NBA history, there haven’t been many like him who possessed a herky-jerky, rush hour handle coupled with the skills to score effortlessly.
Irving’s innate ability to score while leaving defenses left shook is a skill that basketball fans have fallen in love with.
Some keep saying that he is a shooting guard trapped in a point guard’s body. While there is some truth to that, scoring point guards have become the norm across the league. Prior to closing out the Boston Celtics in 5 games, we didn’t really see the Kyrie that we’ve been accustomed to, but after the watching the last two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s safe to say that Uncle Drew is back.
Prior to Game 4 of the ECF, one could argue that Irving didn’t play his best basketball through 11 games of the postseason. In fact, between Game 3 of the first round series against Indiana and Game 1 of the East finals, Irving had a stretch where he shot 36 percent from the field.
With the Cavs winning convincingly against Indiana, Toronto and Boston, Irving’s play didn’t warrant much concern. Due to LeBron James’ phenomenal play – averaging 32.3 points, 6.9 assists and eight rebounds per game while shooting over 55 percent from the field and 40 percent from long range – it was easy to ignore what Irving and the Cavs were doing wrong.
That said, we knew that it had be a matter of time before Irving, like the Cavaliers’ defense, would flip the switch.
It began in the second quarter of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Irving had the eye of the tiger. By looking at him, you could see that he wasn’t going to let Cleveland lose.
From there, he morphed into his alter ego. Although his hair didn’t look like Bill Russell’s and his beard didn’t look Claude Banks from the movie Life, the player wearing No. 2 resembled the guy that has a penchant for throwing pocket passes and breaking ankles.
As LeBron James picked up his fourth foul in the second quarter, Irving took it upon himself to position his team towards a much-needed win.
From the time when James sat on the bench until end of the third quarter, Irving went bonkers. In a quarter and a half, he scored 33 points leading the charge as Cleveland outscored the Celtics 54-37. From three-pointers to an array of Rod Strickland-like layups, nothing or no one could stop him.
Not only was Irving’s performance in the ECF amazing, it gives the Cavs another nearly unstoppable element. In Game 1, Irving began the series with a 4-for-11 game, but after that he had four straight games where he shot 60 percent or better from the field. As a whole, Irving shot 62 percent from the field and also had a true shooting percentage fo 76. Not to mention he did it against two of the league’s best defenders in Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart.
Timing is everything, especially in the NBA. Thanks to Irving’s best stretch of of the postseason, it sets the table of things that could come in the NBA Finals. With Uncle Drew truly on display right now, it could spell trouble for Golden State just as it did in last year’s NBA Finals.
Columbus, Ohio born. Ron is a first-ballot healthy hairline hall of famer. He spent the summer of ‘08 eating calamari pasta because of OJ Da Juiceman. He also loves to write about sports while listening to Sada Baby. Follow him on Twitter @Ron_Hamp