(Picture taken by: Gregory Shamos, Getty Images)
So, that game just ended (Game 4 of the Eastern Conference NBA Finals), and for those of you who don’t know, the Cavs were at a few points in the game, down by 15+ points. Oh yeah, LeBron also had 4 fouls in the first half and majority of the 2nd quarter, and as you now probably know..THE CAVS WON.
Most of us, (excluding a few very optimistic Celtics fans) all knew this would probably happen. Until the Celtics took the lead in the early minutes of the 1st quarter, and were very stubborn about giving the lead back. Then LeBron starts forcing outside shots, contested shots, and just shots that shouldn’t have been taken at all, especially when Kevin Love, who by the way is looking AMAZING this post season, is wide open in the corner. Then that same thought went through many of our heads, “Holy shit, the Celtics can win this game.” Then the camera pans to the Cave bench, and I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to game 2 in Boston, seeing the Celtics bench. Seeing every player starring off into the deep detail of the hardwood, wondering how all the knots in the wood got there, and if they were put there on purpose, does every floor look this way? Wait, what were we doing? Oh yeah, we’re miserably losing a game that is not even halfway through, both teams shared those thoughts, it was clear. But both didn’t share the same outcome.
What was different? Well, let me tell you. A man who thinks the Earth is flat, started taking contested 3’s, and sank them. Again, and again, and again. Then the third starts, the Cavs down by 10, LeBron is out there. The commentators are talking about how he can not get another foul this game if they want to win. Then as Reggie Miller was finishing that statement, you see Kyrie Irving, run right by, the elite defender Avery Bradley, on the left side of the court, he begins to run straight towards the hoop, as Kelly Olynyk gets out of the restricted area, preparing to take a charge, and then Kyrie takes the ball to his hip, jumps, does and windmill with his arms, and flicks the ball up at the very end, and boom goes the dynamite. Literally. Because that was the explosion that caused a reaction from the crowd to become reenergized. That very play happened a few more times, as well as some 3’s, some midrange shots, and then….Silence.
As Kyrie went up for a layup, similar to the one I Just described, Kyrie hit the foot of Terry Rozier, twisting the same ankle that has given him troubles in the past. He begins to slap the floor, as a pain filled grin overtakes his facial expressions, he then turns over facing the floor..and on the TV, you hear, “Oh no…oh man Kyrie is in pain.” 2015 seemed to be lurking, the thought of the Cavs playing Golden State immediately came into my head. I couldn’t help it, I kept telling myself that there is no way Cleveland can win the championship this year. Then, Kyrie flips over, and unties his shoe, pulls the laces back as far and tightly as they can get. He then jumps right up, limping, but up. And all hope is back. Thinking that Lue would take him out to rest, Kyrie is still on the court, after Kyrie went down the Cave had fouled Avery Bradley so that they weren’t outnumbered down the court. So Bradley goes to the line, Kyrie will not stop walking around, both free throws go in. LeBron gets the ball on the inbound, gets into the Boston area of the court, and he passes immediately to Kyrie. Boston , like many of us watching, didn’t anticipate Kyrie driving into the lane as hard as ever for yet, ANOTHER LAY-UP.
Kyrie finished the 3rd quarter with 21 points, and gave the Cave the lead. The Cave went on to win the game112-99 to take a 3-1 lead. But most importantly, gave LeBron his confidence back. LeBron in the first half, and even to begin the 3rd looked miserable, and as if the monsters from Space Jam took his game, looks like he drank some of Mikes, “Special Stuff.” Because LeBron became the Bron we expected. He missed probably the most powerful dunk of James career, which was embarrassing, but so cool at the same time, because if that went in, oh man!
Back to Kyrie though, we saw this last year in the finals, especially that crucial game 5, and the series, and championship clinching game 7. When Kyrie is in that mood, he is arguably better than LeBron, Seriously, he can’t seem to miss when he plays with that grit, go back and watch his highlights from game 7 last year, and then watch his play tonight against Avery Bradley, arguably the best defender of guards in the league. It is very reminiscent, and the reason I am so excited for June 1st. If he stays healthy, and LeBron keeps playing like he is, we may be in treat for the best basketball series of all time. Let’s Hope.