|Kobe Bryant, left, and Kyrie Irving|
|Cleveland Cavaliers Coach Byron Scott|
(www.clevelandurbannews.com)CLEVELAND, Ohio-The Quicken Loan arena was a buzz Tuesday night. You could tell something special was about to happen. The fans who came to see the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Los Angeles Lakers were not disappointed as the Cavs would win 100 to 94.
After the game Cavaliers Coach Bryon Scott said that his team came through because of excellent defensive strategies, though he acknowledged that Kyrie helped too.
“As much as we talk about Kyrie, as much as we talk about some of the other individuals who had great games, defensively we were great, really, for 48 minutes," said Scott. "We played some of our best defense.”
After three long weeks of absence, Kyrie Irving was back, and he brought his awe inspiring skill set with him. Adding spice to this match up between the Lakers and the Cavs was the challenge to a game of one on one basketball made by Kyrie to Kobe Bryant of the Lakers during the pre-Olympic training camp last summer. Whether this challenge were the loser will give $40,000 to the winners charity actually happens is yet to be determined. But the match up last night between Kobe and Kyrie, with both superstars trying to deliver a win for their struggling teams, would bring thrills and chills. This was a true example of a game within a game between two of the NBA's great players.
As the game began, Kyrie started the scoring out with one of his signature moves. He faked left with the ball on the dribble, then right behind his back. He finished off the move with a spinning turn
around jumper fading away. The ball went in the basket softly, tickling the twine of the net. Kyrie's body language seemed to say let's get it on Kobe as he backed peddled away. Immediately Kobe ran down the court, he jostled for position with Kyrie.
After receiving the ball Kobe showed Kyrie his own turn around fade away jumper that touched nothing but the bottom of the net. This was a message sending shot that implied, okay my young friend, let's do this. The game between the Cavs and Lakers would continue with several dazzling shots by Kobe and Kyrie along with quick slashes to the basket.
There was one possession in the third quarter that brought fans to their feet. Kyrie found himself matched up with Kobe one on one at the top of the key. Kyrie faked left then right and after two more quick dribbles back and forth he settled for a jump shot right in front of Kobe's condor like arms, and he promptly swatted the shot down as the crowd sighed.
Kyrie and the Cavs would win the game. It would come down to the fourth quarter as most NBA games often do. In the last four minutes of the fourth quarter Kobe and Kyrie would continue to make shots.
But, Kyrie and the Cavaliers won the game mainly of defense, one might argue. The Cavs limited the Lakers to 41.3 percent shooting for the game and shot 44.8 percent themselves. Cleveland forced the Lakers into 19 turnovers that resulted in 24 points, and this allowed the team to get out and run their fast break, some of which resulted in Alonzo Gee dunking smoothly.
C.J. Miles had a break out game with 28 points for the Cavs following the team's struggle to score points in the first quarter.
Anderson Varejao performed well and scored 20 points, coupled with 11 rebounds. He was also the beneficiary of several of Kyrie's assists.
Kyrie also won the game within the game by bringing confidence and energy to the Cavs that was missing in recent games. This is something that Kobe was unable to do for L.A.
He might have lost the scoring match up with Kobe, 28 to 42 but Kyrie had 11 assists to Kobe's two. And he put a nice bow around a needed that sent fans home happy Tuesday night.
Reach Karl Kimbrough at email@example.com and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 216-659-0473.