Despite a sickness that’s plagued Kyrie Irving for the last two days, and despite scoring 39 points in nearly 42 minutes during Cleveland’s 114-111 overtime victory over the visiting Bucks on Friday night, Kyrie thanked his teammates’ “juice,” after the game. Irving drove into the heart of the Bucks defense throughout his big night, but it was his career-high in blocks that really stuck out — including a righteous swat of Brandon Knight.
Irving dazzled in the open court, as is his custom, with a series of deft dribbling moves in mini-transition, which he finished off with twisting layups.
But we’ve come to expect that sort of handle and ability to finish at the rim from Irving. On the other side the ball, not so much — though Irving told us this summer defense would be a priority this season. Friday night was different though because holy hell, this block on Knight — one of Irving’s career-high four blocks in the game — was filthy.
Irving was 13-of-25 from the field for a game-high 39 points to go with six dimes and that career-high in blocks. Even after such an impressive performance when he was still feeling under the weather, Irving thanked his teammates for the win, telling the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
“I’m not even going to lie, I’m tired. I really just way [sic] to lay down right now. I’m here for my teammates. They bring the juice, and without my teammates I wouldn’t be able to do it.”
Irving’s words weren’t a humble brag, either. His big night might have been wasted if not for Tristan Thompson. Down 96-94 with under 10 seconds to play, Irving again attacked the rim, and appeared to have an open layup on the right side, but his attempt fell short. Thompson tipped the ball in after the miss to tie the game at 96-all. After a Khris Middletown jumper rattled out (it looked good at first), the teams headed to OT, where the Cavs outscored them 18-15 for the win. The Cavs went to 8-4 at home this season, even though they’re only 10-15 overall. The Bucks moved to 5-21, the worst record in the league.
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