One of the reasons LeBron James chose to return to Cleveland is Kyrie Irving. On Thursday night, we saw exactly why.
Irving scored a career-high 57 points in an exciting overtime win against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. He put the Cavaliers on his back, converting all seven of his 3-point attempts and getting it done defensively with four steals. LeBron took note.
“The kid is special, we all know it, we all see it,” James told reporters after the game. “For him to go out and put on a performance like he did tonight was incredible.”
Irving’s 57 points were the most in an NBA game this season. Ironically, he broke LeBron’s Cavs record of 56 points in a game, which James set against the Toronto Raptors in 2005.
Irving credited LeBron for fueling his energy level.
“It was such a fun game,” he said. “The crowd was into it. They sold out, they came to see a great game and it was. Once Bron gets into those step-back 3s, we were just looking at each other, ‘Man, this is just so much fun.’”
Teams that are led by LeBron are typically at their best when LeBron doesn’t have to do it all. He’s not like Carmelo Anthony and other pure scorers in that James loves getting teammates involved and creating scoring opportunities for others. If he and Irving can continue to improve their chemistry, the Eastern Conference is in trouble.