Before talking about what Kyrie Irving did on Tuesday against the Celtics in Game 4 of the ECF, I just want to remind you that Sports Illustrated had Kyrie Irving listed as the 25th best player coming into this season. Here’s where a few other point guards were on the list.
- Dame Lillard (21)
- John Wall (17)
- Kyle Lowry (14)
- Russell Westbrook (5)
- Chris Paul (4)
- Steph Curry (3)
NBA2K didn’t show everyone’s favorite Uncle much more love with an 89 rating. But who cares now? That was in the past, long before every point guard on the list, with the exception of #3, was eliminated in the playoffs. Long before Kyrie Irving put the Cleveland Cavs on his back and hurt ankle and carried them to a memorable comeback victory.
“The kid is special,” Said LeBron James, who had a mind-boggling four fouls in the first half. “I was happy to sit back and watch him. He was born for these moments.”
After LeBron picked up his fourth foul, Irving scored 19 points in less than five minutes and a playoff-high 21 in the third quarter, which ended with a deeeep step-back three by Irving.
Irving’s nine field goals in the third quarter was a new franchise playoff-high. During a 19-minute stretch, Irving had 33 points (13-16 shooting) and when the final buzzer went off, Irving had a new playoff career-high of 42 and the Cavs had a 112-99 victory and a 3-1 lead.
Irving’s previous playoff high was in GM5 of the 2016 NBA Finals, when Irving knocked down 17 of 24 shots for 41 points.
2016: GM5 OF THE NBA FINALS
After that game, Irving said, “Now, mind you, to repeat a performance like this would definitely be tough, but whatever it takes to win.”
Whatever was in the building against the Celtics in Game 4.
After reliving this performance, I started thinking what were Irving’s other greatest performances and here’s the ones I remember the most.
2015: 55 POINTS & THE GAME WINNER VS BLAZERS
NBA season-high 55 points. 24 of the Cavs’ final 28 points. 16 of the Cavs 20 in the fourth. Franchise-high 11 3-pointers and the 11th was a game-winner! LeBron called it one of the greatest performances he’s ever seen and it also marked the first time a former Duke player (if you consider Irving a former Dukie) scored 50 in a NBA game. Grant Hill once had 46 and Elton Brand put up 44 twice.
2015: CAREER-HIGH 57 VS THE SPURS
Irving scored a career-high 57 points including 27 in the 4th quarter and OT! He was a perfect 7 for 7 from three and 10 for 10 from the free throw line and only missed 12 of his 32 total field goals. Besides snapping a six-game win streak by the Spurs, he also snapped a bunch of ankles.
After the game, LeBron said the exact same thing he said after last night’s game, “The kid is special.”
2016 VS THE WARRIORS
And of course this list wouldn’t be complete without showing his clutch shot in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals and his Christmas game-winner to go with 25 points, 10 assists and 7 steals against the team he will be facing again for the 2017 NBA championship.