On Kyrie’s career night, LeBron his biggest cheerleader — literally

Remember those days way back when, when the Cleveland Cavaliers couldn’t play together, Kevin Love couldn’t be trusted in the fourth quarter, LeBron James couldn’t get his body healthy enough to play, and head coach David Blatt couldn’t finish arguing with a ref because James shoved him to the bench?

A lot can change in two weeks.

OK, Love is still struggling to find any offensive game. And LeBron is not fully healthy, as evidenced by his sitting out Wednesday night’s 99-94 win over Portland with a sprained wrist. But it’s what LeBron did despite not playing that shows those chemistry issues apparently are a thing of the past.

With James out, point guard Kyrie Irving had the game of his life, scoring an NBA season-high 55 points and hitting the game-winning 3-pointer to lead Cleveland to its season-high eighth straight win. And he set a season high for the second straight night, after he dropped 38 on the Pistons on Tuesday.

But the new LeBron couldn’t just sit and watch. After Irving hit his big shot, James turned into “the highest-paid cheerleader in Northeast Ohio.”

After the game, according to The Associated Press, James declined to talk to reporters, other than saying of Irving:

"This is his night."

Then he took to Twitter.

And on his way out of Quicken Loans Arena, he had this to say, compliments of Bleacher Report.

And James wasn’t the only one heaping the praise on teammates. The man of the night did it, too.

"It was a total team effort," Irving said.

As for that team, here’s what the Cavs had waiting for Irving in the locker room.

Congrats to Mr. 55 @k1irving !! Proud of you bro! Uncle Drew showed us it's always about buckets

A video posted by Tristan Thompson (@realtristan13) on

Cavs celebrate Kyrie Irving's 55 vs Blazers.

A video posted by Spears (@spearsmarcj) on

It is all a far cry from late December until mid-January, when the Cavs lost nine of 10 and six in a row at one point. Before this current winning streak, Cleveland was sporting a 19-20 record and was well aware of the fact that no team with a sub-.500 record that late into the season has gone on to win an NBA championship.

But since James’ return from an eight-game absence due to knee and back issues, the Cavs are 8-1, losing only his first game back, and are up to fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings.