By DeArbea Walker
Kyrie Irving, one of the premier guards in the NBA’s Central Division, had Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio blazing Wednesday evening as he scored a career high 55 points.
Irving, the starting point guard of the Cleveland Cavaliers, made sure to leave his mark on the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night. Irving finished the game one point shy of the Cavaliers’ franchise record 56 points, a record LeBron James set in a 2005 game against Toronto. Irving would finish the first half with 28 points and 6 three-pointers, the most three-pointers he has made in a half throughout his career (ESPN.com).
Irving then began the second half shooting lights out from beyond the arc. As the game progressed, the Cavs would lead late in the fourth quarter by 4 points. Irving would go on to hit a late three to seal the deal in the Cavs’ favor. In a very exciting game for both teams, Irving delivered an All-Star performance. This is ironic because he would be named as an Eastern Conference All-Star roster reserve, the following day.
This season Irving has averaged 22.1 points per game to go with 5.2 assists per game and 1.6 steals per game (ESPN.com). Injury has been the main issue surrounding the Cavaliers roster this season. To begin the season, Irving suffered from a left knee injury in the team’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on December 11th. Prior to the injury, Irving averaged 19 points a game (ESPN.com). This weeks game against the Trail Blazers exemplifies his progress and growth throughout the season.
After his spectacular performance Wednesday, what does this mean for this Cavaliers team? For one, the Cavaliers will need consistent scoring as they had Wednesday evening because LeBron James has been in and out of the lineup the past couple of weeks due to injury. Considering the fact that Irving is not a human robot, scoring will have to come from other places on the team. Production needs to improve, starting with the Cavs bench which combined for only 11 points in the victory over the Trail Blazers. Injuries have been prevalent on this roster, which means these bench players will have to step up for the team to be successful.
The team will face its next three opponents at home, before hitting the road to finish out before the All-Star break. The team’s scoring should be a high priority on the team’s agenda.
It’s hard to show that you are a premier player when you’re playing alongside LeBron James, but the reigning All-Star Game MVP was able to leave his mark and come up in a big way this Wednesday night.