Found April 19, 2012 on Waiting For Next Year:

When Kyrie Irving returned from a stint of missed games due to a concussion, the first hit came with the biggest gasp. Roy Hibbert, seemingly twice the size of the Cavaliers’ rookie point guard, was ready and waiting. Irving took him on, full speed ahead for two points and deep exhale from all of those with vested interest in the player’s well being.

Almost two months (to the day) later, Irving once again returned, this time from a shoulder injury that some feared could end his freshman campaign in the NBA. Though the contact didn’t occur right away, Irving would collide with Philadelphia 76ers power forward Elton Brand — weighing in just a few pounds shy of Hibbert — and the result would once again come with clenched teeth and a skip of the heart.

Scott, following the team’s 107-83 loss to the Sixers, admitted that he was nervous as he witnessed the Duke on Duke crime. It wasn’t until his prize point guard was peeled off of the hardwood that the blood pressure desceneded back to normal levels.

“He got right back up which was a great sign to show me that he’s fine,” said Scott. “He didn’t grab his shoulder or anything. Matter of fact, he started laughing a little bit when Elton [Brand] grabbed him [and asked] ‘Are you okay.’ That was a good sign. I was a little nervous about that [hit].”

A slashing guard, Irving’s game is predicated on leaving would-be defenders in the dust, only to take on their considerably larger counterparts where he can make in-air decisions: take the shot, take the hit or make the pass. This season, Irving has largely made said decisions in that very order, opting to take his team on his ultimately injured shoulders, floating in game-winners as if it were the Pop-a-Shot at Dave and Busters.  

Irving, just as he did following the concussion, quickly shot down any thoughts of unease, reiterating that he refuses not only to play with apprehension, but change his game because of it.

“Not at all,” said Irving after a quick thought-inducing brush of his goatee. “When I had my concussion, I was asked if I would stop attacking the basket and would change my game, but I didn’t at all. Those kinds of plays are going to happen and are inevitable. It’s not going to make me change my game at all.

“It was just a play [Brand] tried to make on the ball. I fell to the floor and it was my ‘welcome back’ kind of moment. It was good to get it out of the way in the early going.”

The final result: 19 minutes, nine points, three rebounds and four assists. His first bucket occurred in typical Irving fashion, losing Philadelphia’s Jrue Holiday at the top of the key with a behind-the-back move, driving into the lane for the easy lay-in and two points.

Not long after the hit, at least in terms of game minutes, Scott would bring out the hook on Irving, opting to allow the first-overall pick to shake off some of the loose rust, but still keeping his focus on the future. Irving would sit with approximately eight minutes left in the third quarter, never to return again. The Sixers would go on a 24-2 run, putting the game out of reach.

There have been various schools of thought on whether or not Irving should be playing. Some prefer to let the season wind to a close, knowing what they have, jockying for ping pong balls. Scott, however, plans on taking the handful of minutes he provided Irving and adding to it liitle by little as the season comes to an end. Some games, he may not play at all. Others, the team will use as a test to see what Irving can do with some of the new additions as the team attempts to get a feel for what they have at their disposal heading into the summer months.

One item they know they have is a tough-and-ready 20-year-old point guard who will not shy away from the competition regardless of size or stature. The keystone from which the team will build.

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Thorpe: Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson Rookies With Most Upside

When the Cavaliers landed the #1 and #4 picks in the draft, it was imperative they land two impact players with those picks. We know Kyrie Irving has lived up to the top pick and then some, but there’s a fair debate as to whether or not Tristan Thompson was the right pick at #4. ESPN’s David Thorpe, one of the sharpest talent evaluators in the media, think the Cavaliers might...

NBA Report: Lester Hudson will not finish season with Cavs

According to reports, G Lester Hudson was not offered a deal for the remainder of the season after his second ten day contract expired this week. Hudson will be free to sign with another NBA team, though he would not be eligible for a playoff roster spot. Hudson averaged 12.7 points, 2.7 assists and 3.5 rebounds in his 13 games with the Cavaliers this season. [Related: Where'...

Cavaliers Recall Luke Harangody to Cleveland

The Cleveland Cavaliers announced Wednesday afternoon that they have brought Luke Harangody back up to the big club from the D-League’s Canton Charge. Harangody, who had a huge game filling in for Antawn Jamison in Washington last weekend, was in the middle of helping the Charge in the D-League Playoffs, but will now finish out the season with the Cavaliers. The  6’7″ forward...

Box Score: 76ers 103, Cavaliers 87

That’s more like it. It may seem funny feeling ok about a 16 point loss, but in this game the Cavaliers came out and showed some fight, taking just a 4 point deficit into the locker room at the half. Jrue Holliday went off in the 3rd and the Sixers’ talent overtook the Cavaliers, but the Cavaliers at least played hard in this game and showed some pride and spirit in the way they...

Report: Varejao out for remainder of season

Due to continued pain in his injured wrist, Cavaliers’ big man Anderson Varejao will not play the rest of the season. The pain is not from the fracture, but rather with the tendons or tissue in the wrist. “It’s terrible that I’m not going to be able to play this season,” Varejao said. “The good thing is that the bone is healing well. I’ll keep working out but unfortunately...

Cavaliers Will Try to Lose By Less Than 39 Points at Home Against Philly

I’m furious with the Cleveland Cavaliers (20-40, 13th in the East). And I hate being mad at the Cavaliers. I love this franchise and I can’t wait for the day when they return to the playoffs and give us fun, rewarding, exciting, meaningful basketball to watch. What we got last night was the polar opposite of that. The Cavaliers lost by 39 points to a team that was 22-38 going...

Rest of Cavaliers' season all about next year

CLEVELAND -- Random observations from the Cavaliers' 103-87 loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday at The Q: The Cavs (20-41) have won just three of their past 17 games. Several of the losses have been downright despicable. In Charlotte, these results might not be big deal. But in a sports-starved town like Cleveland, it can hurt. So who and what is to blame? Well, it's only...

Cavaliers rookie Irving close to returning

Guard Kyrie Irving wants to get back on the court. He's missed the last 10 games with the injury. Cavs coach Byron Scott said Irving probably won't face the Pistons on Tuesday. He said there's a better chance of Irving playing against Philadelphia on Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena. When the season ends on April 26 at Chicago, Scott will sit down with all the players...

Anderson Varejao done for rest of season

CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Cavaliers have shut down center Anderson Varejao for the remainder of the season with a broken right wrist. Varejao's wrist has not healed completely since he injured it Feb. 10 against Milwaukee. He was averaging 10.8 points and 11.5 rebounds before getting hurt. The Cavs went 10-26 without Varejao, the constantly hustling Brazilian and fan favorite....

Cavaliers F Varejao officially done for season

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao is out for the remainder of the regular season due to a fractured right wrist, the team announced in a press release Friday.An MRI revealed Varejao had suffered a non-displaced wrist fracture during a Feb. 10 game against Milwaukee. The 29-year-old hopes to recover in time to play for his native Brazil during the 2012 Summer Olympics.Varejao...

Catching up with Cavs Luke Harangody

Last night marked the fifth game in six nights for Cavaliers Forward Luke Harangody. That six game stretch included a 16 point, 10 rebound, double/double during the first start of his NBA career against the Washington Wizards, as well as a four game back-to-back-to-back-to-back which no other player in the NBA or NBDL has completed this season besides Gody. I don't know that...

Report: Lester Hudson to sign with Memphis Grizzlies

According to the Memphis newspaper The Commercial Appeal, G Lester Hudson will sign with the Grizzlies and will be eligible for their playoff roster- “Guard Lester Hudson, whose second 10-day contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers expired on Wednesday, is expected to sign with the Griz for the rest of the season. A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed that Hudson has...

Grizzlies sign free agent ex-Cavs guard Hudson

The Memphis Grizzlies have signed free agent guard Lester Hudson. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Hudson averaged 12.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 13 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. He scored a career-high 26 points on April 8 at New Jersey. Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins says ''if he can come in and help us for one game or two games in the playoffs it...

Irving returns, Cavaliers lose to 76ers

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Jrue Holiday made five 3-pointers and scored 19 of his 24 points in the third quarter as the Philadelphia 76ers kept their hold on a playoff spot with a 103-87 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night. Holiday dropped four of his 3s during a stunning 24-2 run when the Sixers blew open a tight game. Andre Iguodala added 19 points as Philadelphia snapped...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.