I’ve had this ongoing argument with some friends all season as to who’s the best point guard in the NBA. I would still give the edge to Chris Paul, if only based on seniority before anything else; after all, Paul’s third in the NBA in PER, trailing only LeBron James and Kevin Durant. And with the Clippers rocking a 33-13 record that trails only San Antonio and Oklahoma City, CP3’s very much alive in the MVP race. But, dude, that Kyrie Irving kid can ball.
What a week it was for the ex-Dukie. In three games against very capable opposing point guards — a lineup that featured Rajon Rondo (before the torn ACL, obviously) and Avery Bradley, then Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, and Jose Calderon and Kyle Lowry to cap it off — Irving dropped 35.7 points per game, all while shooting a ridiculous 61% from the field. In the end, it was enough to earn Irving Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors, joining LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Bernard King and John Drew as the fifth player to collect 3-straight 30-point games before the age of 21.
He notched 40 on Boston, the league’s No. 11-ranked defense in terms of opponent’s scoring, at The Q on Tuesday. Then, after GM Chris Grant swindled a deal for Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby from the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, Irving dropped 35, 24 of which came in the second half, on the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, helping the Cavaliers overcome a 20-point deficit and win. To finish Saturday, Irving had 32, but no 3 more important than his cold-blooded, 28-foot game-winner with 0.7 seconds left in Toronto to dispatch the Raptors.
It was the fifth game-winning shot of Kyrie Irving’s career, earning him the nickname Mr. 4th Quarter in Cleveland. For Irving, whose 24.2 points a night lead the NBA at his position, his week could very well transfer into a starting nod on the Eastern Conference All Star team, given Rondo’s injury. All this for a guy not even 21 years of age.
Beyond the scoring, his offensive game can still develop (and so can his defense, for sure), but Irving’s shooting touch, nifty handles and knowledge of the game already put him among the best the league’s seen at PG in some time. For basketball fans, he’s a blessing to watch, and for Cleveland fans like myself, hopefully an end to the post-LeBron misery.
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