It appears in Kyrie, Cavs can trust

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Just a few days after losing to

New Jersey at home, the Cavaliers were all smiles at the team’s practice

facility Monday.

That’s because the Cavs followed the Nets loss with a thrilling victory in

Boston two nights later. It included a 12-0 run to close the game and a driving

layup by rookie guard Kyrie Irving to win it. The shot made all the highlight

reels and Irving made most of the headlines.

So it’s no surprise Irving cracked a few jokes at the expense of his coach —

namely, suggesting he’d score 40 if he ever got the chance to go up against

Byron Scott when the former NBA star was in his prime with the Magic

Johnson-led LA Lakers teams of the 1980s.

Of course, Scott brushed off the prediction by saying that the rules were

different then. The rules, Scott reminded, allowed defenders to beat on their

opponents a little more.

It was all in good fun, and while the Cavs enjoyed their brief time in the

national spotlight, Irving and Scott admitted it was back to business as usual.

Such is life for a team that followed perhaps its most disappointing loss of

the season with its biggest win. Basically, there is no time to get too down in

defeat, or too caught up in the things you do well. In this lockout-shortened

season, there is always another game.

It wouldn’t be surprising if this is how it goes all season for the Cavs. They

will likely lose some games they should win, and win others they’re supposed to

lose. No two games demonstrate that theory better than their previous two —

and it makes sense. That’s often how it goes when your best player is 19 years

old and 19 games into his professional career.

What most fans seem to be overlooking in these days of trade rumors, draft

speculation and the constant craving to know what’s next, is that Irving seems

to be better than anyone ever imagined. Everyone, that is, except for maybe

Scott and Cavs GM Chris Grant.

Clearly, the team did its homework on the kid — with several GMs from around

the league telling FOX Sports Ohio on Monday that had Cavs fans seen Irving

play in high school, they would have been considerably more ecstatic when the

team made him the No. 1 overall draft pick.

Instead, he was looked at as just the lowest risk in a fairly risky (and weak)


Anyone who has seen Irving play understands that he is extremely skilled with a

thorough understanding of the point guard position. He can go one-on-one and

take over if he has to, but as Cavs radio analyst Jim Chones pointed out, it’s

not something Irving is inclined to do.

His preference seems to be getting others involved first — a characteristic

owned by greats such as Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Tony Parker. Chones defined

Irving’s style as “probing,” or looking at all his options when he brings the

ball down the floor and sets up the offense. If nothing is there, he has the

ability to take it himself.

The result has helped keep the Cavs close to .500, with an 8-11 record entering

Tuesday’s rematch with Boston at Quicken Loans Arena.

Irving’s start record-wise is better than all the others whom the Cavs selected

with the No. 1 overall pick. That includes LeBron James (4-15 through his first

19 games), Brady Daugherty (7-12) and Austin Carr (5-14).

What’s it mean? Probably nothing.

Except that the Cavs very well could have a lot of days like Monday in their

future, days where things look good and real hope appears to be on the horizon.

Cavs Notes

* Shooting guards Anthony Parker (back) and Daniel Gibson (neck) are out for

Tuesday’s game, Scott said. He did not say who would start in their place,

although it appears backup small forward Alonzo Gee is a candidate.

* Gibson remained in a Boston hospital Monday night for treatment to what the

team called a “soft tissue infection” in his neck. He was taking


* According to STATS LLC, Irving became the third youngest player to hit a game

winner since the 2002-03 season. He was 19 years and 312 days old in Sunday’s


* Sunday’s win was the Cavs’ first of the season over a team with a record of

.500 or better. They are 1-8 in those games.

* The Cavs surrendered just two fast-break points vs. the Celtics and are

giving up just 9.8 per game, second best in the league.

* Irving leads all rookies in scoring at 17.9 points per game.