Found December 11, 2012 on
Waiting For Next Year:
Life without Kyrie Irving has not been fun. It was hard. How hard? The Cleveland Cavaliers (4-17, 13th in the East) went 2-9 without him. Sure, the Cavaliers are 2-8 with him, so there’s no evidence of the team being worse without him. But if you watched the 11 games he missed, you know the truth.
The Cavaliers score 108.3 points per 100 possessions with Kyrie on the floor. They score just 98.4 without him. It has been painfully obvious over the course of the past few weeks that without Kyrie Irving the Cavaliers just do not have the offensive firepower to win games.
There is a flipside, though. The Cavaliers’ defense has unquestionably been better since Kyrie has been out. Indeed, in the 10 games Kyrie played, the Cavaliers gave up 100+ points 8 times. They’ve given up that many just 5 times in the 11 games without him. With Kyrie, the Cavaliers allowed opponents to average 50.32% from the field and score 102.70 points per game. Without him, opponents shot 46.15% from the field and scored 98.55 points per game.
If you look at the 4.15 points per game less the Cavs give up without Kyrie, and compare it to the 2.61 points per game less they score without Kyrie, it would appear the Cavaliers are about a point and a half better without Kyrie. That’s the funny thing about statistics. You can make them say a lot of things that may or may not be true. The statistics I’m using here don’t account for things like strength of opponents, home or away, Dion Waiters’ injury, or the emergence of Jeremy Pargo as a scoring option when Kyrie sits.
The bottom line is this, with Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers feel like they have a chance in every game. When the 4th quarter comes, Kyrie tends to do his thing and take over the game. Without him, the Cavaliers have really, really struggled down the stretch in the 4th quarters of these games. So yeah, Cavs fans should be awfully excited to have Kyrie back in action tonight in the Q as the Cavaliers host the Los Angeles Lakers (9-12, 11th in the West).
The Lakers are a bizarre team. They are 9-12, so they must be lousy, right? Well, here’s the thing. They have played the 8th toughest schedule, are 7th in offensive efficiency and 17th in defensive efficiency, 7th in Margin of Victory, and 7th in the Simple Rating System. According to their Expected W-L formula, they should be 13-8 and have the 7th best record in the NBA. Instead, they are 20th in the NBA.
So what’s going on with the Lakers? First and foremost, they have lost a ton of really close games that they should have won. A major problem for them is that A) Dwight Howard keeps getting fouled and missing free throws in the 4th quarter, allowing teams to come back, and B) opponents seem to be making a lot of shots against the Lakers down the stretch. Is that bad luck or bad defense? Maybe both? Who knows. But the point is, if you look at the 9-12 record, you think the Lakers stink. The truth is, there has been some really good basketball played inside those numbers.
So assuming Kyrie Irving truly does return tonight, it will be a major boost to the Cavaliers. You know Anderson Varejao will be relieved at having some offensive pressure taken off his shoulders. If the Cavaliers can keep up some of the good defensive pressure they’ve applied recently, there’s a chance the Cavaliers can sneak up on the Lakers at home.
Pao Gasol may be returning for the Lakers as well. If he does play, the Lakers’ frontcourt is a lot to handle. We all have nightmares of how Dwight Howard manhandled the Cavaliers in the post in the Eastern Conference Finals a few years back. Andy is a better player now, but Dwight still should give him some problems. Where the Cavaliers can have some success is in reuniting the pick and roll combo of Kyrie and Andy.
With Andy setting high screens, it forces Dwight Howard to move a lot on defense. Now, Dwight is an amazing defensive center and he doesn’t mind moving around. But any time you get moving pieces on defense, it creates holes and opportunities. The Cavaliers need to keep moving the ball, setting good screens, and attacking the rim and trying to draw fouls.
I know Byron Scott feels his team is disrespected by the refs, and he might be right. The Cavaliers have taken the 4th most shots at the rim per game in the NBA, yet they are dead last in FG% at the rim and 24th in the NBA in FT rate. So, do the Cavaliers just really suck at layups? Does Tristan Thompson just get his shot blocked way too often in the paint? Well, ok, that last one is true and part of this problem. But I doubt the Cavaliers are that bad at layups. I’m sure they’re being fouled here and there not getting the calls. The Cavaliers just need to keep being aggressive and eventually the calls will even out. They always do.
No matter what the outcome of this game tonight, though….no matter how much rust Kyrie Irving might have, it’s going to feel good to be able to watch Kyrie play again and the Cavaliers can get hopefully sometime soon get back to discovering just how good this core of young players can be.
BEST OF MAXIM
The Cleveland Cavaliers announced today that PG Kyrie Irving was cleared to begin practicing and should be available for Tuesday’s game against the Lakers.
Irving will practice today and be in the starting line-up against the Lakers. #Cavs
— Scott @ WFNY (@WFNYScott) December 10, 2012
The Cavaliers are 2-9 since Irving injured his finger, including the current five game losing...
Kyrie Irving was ready. The self-proclaimed Cavaliers’ biggest cheerleader was ready to put down his pom poms and swap his suit for a wine and gold jersey. He knew that all of his begging and pleas would fall on the deaf ears of team physicians, keeping a long term, investment-like frame of mind when it came to clearing the reigning Rookie of the Year to resume full basketball...
Kyrie Irving had missed the Cleveland Cavaliers' last 11 games with a fractured finger. In that time, the Cavaliers often looked hopeless. They lost nine of those 11 games. However, irving was back last night as the Cavs took on the Los Angeles Lakers. And he made an instant difference. In his first game back, Irving played the second-most minutes (38) of anyone on the...
The Cleveland Cavaliers have something to cheer for once again. Point guard Kyrie Irving, who went down with a broken finger, is expected to return to action tomorrow against the Los Angeles Lakers. He was previously expected to make a return next week. Jason Lloyd, a Cavaliers beat writer, tweeted the following.Kyrie returned to practice today, expected to play tmrw vs Lakers....
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Sitting and watching his teammates play was torture for Kyrie Irving. Seeing the Cavaliers lose made it worse.
Back earlier than expected, Irving was cleared to practice after missing 11 games with a broken left finger and the star point guard will likely play Tuesday night when Cleveland hosts the struggling Los Angeles Lakers.
"It's been very difficult...
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving has returned to practice and is available to play in Tuesdays home game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Irving, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, has missed the previous three weeks (11 games) with a broken left index finger.
He leads the team in scoring at 22.9 points per game, and assists at 5.6 per game.
Kyrie Irving talks after Cavaliers beat Lakers.
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Kyrie Irving scored 28 points in his return after missing 11 games with a broken finger, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 100-94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, who dropped to a new low Tuesday night in a tumultuous season.
Irving added 11 assists in 39 minutes and showed off his dizzying array of moves as the Cavs ended a five-game losing streak.
Unfortunately Kyrie Irving didn’t do so well on his test.
CJ Miles came into this game picking up right where he left off. He scored 11 of the Cavaliers first 13 points and the Cavs bench played the best quarter of their season in the 2nd quarter. The Cavaliers were up 54-38 with about 4 minutes left in the first half. It looked like the Cavaliers would be cruising to another win...
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers ran into one of the all-time greats. But not even Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant's season-high 42 points could ruin the return of Cavs guard Kyrie Irving on Tuesday at Quicken Loans Arena. Playing for the first time since Nov. 18, Irving had 28 points, six rebounds and a season-high 11 assists in the Cavs' exciting 100-94 victory...
What a night for Cleveland sports.
First, Kyrie Irving came back for the Cavaliers.
Then, while the game was going on, the Indians made what appears to be a stellar trade.
And then, just for good measure, the Cavaliers beat the Lakers.
It was evident from the beginning just how much Irving was missed. Kyrie wasted no time in making his impact felt and the Cavaliers opened up a huge...
Kyrie Irving is back, and man, thats just great.
Dion Waiters is not, and man, that sort of stinks.
After all, Waiters is the Cavs second-leading scorer, a developing rookie, a guy who scores 20 a game when the Cavs win. OK, thats only been four (out of 21) times, but still.
The Cavs need Waiters, Waiters needs playing time, and the Lakers are in town. And guess who...
The Cavaliers were playing on the road one night after an emotional victory at home.
But what happened Wednesday at Indiana was unacceptable.
The verdict: Pacers 96, Cavs 81.
The sentence: Most likely the wrath of coach Byron Scott.
The truth: Life in the NBA, with its constant stream of back-to-back games and lack of respect from the referees, can be brutal and downright...
The NBA tweeted the first batch of results for All-Star balloting-
1st Returns, East Backcourt: D.Wade (430,925), Rajon Rondo (382,613), Deron Williams (211,426), Kyrie Irving (155,989), Ray Allen (130,016)
— 2013 #NBAAllStar(@NBAAllStar) December 13, 2012
Irving is fourth despite missing half the Cavaliers’ games this season.
Anderson Varejao, who leads the league in rebounding...
While the Los Angeles Lakers' offense has improved since Mike D'Antoni took over as coach, those strides seem to be coming at the cost of a defense which continues to struggle.
The Lakers are still searching for answers as they begin a four-game road trip Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who hope Kyrie Irving's return will help them snap a five-game skid...