Since being selected number one overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers back 2011, Kyrie Irving has made numerous shots in the clutch. For all of his late game baskets, Irving was given the nickname ‘Mr. 4th Quarter.’ In took only four games for Irving to add his most recent clutch basket to his ever growing resume of late game heroics with the wine and gold.
Irving knocked down a three pointer with 21.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the shot clock running out to seal the Cavaliers 101-97 victory over the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix Monday night. Irving finished with a team high 22 points including the final seven Cavaliers points to snap Cleveland’s two game west coast losing streak.
“The minute restrictions, it is what it is so i’m trying to get as many possessions as I can,” Irving said to Allie Clifton of Fox Sports Ohio right after the game. “The coaches did a heck of a job spreading out my minutes that way I could finish the game with my teammates and get back in the rhythm of things.
Irving continues to see his minutes increase since he returned from the fractured knee cap suffered in game one of the NBA Finals. Irving scored his team high 22 points in just 24 minutes. Irving will be held out of the Cavs next game Tuesday night in Denver against the Nuggets since its the second half of a back-to-back scenario. Irving was also held out of Saturday’s blowout loss in Portland last Saturday after playing in Golden State on Christmas day.
LeBron James finished with just 14 points but moved past Alex English on the NBA’s all-time scoring list and Stephon Marbury on the NBA’s all-time assist list. It was also raining three’s in the Valley of the Sun. The Cavaliers made eleven of 18 three pointers in the first half and finished with 17 made three pointers on 41 attempts for the game. Cleveland shot the basketball much better on Monday than they did in the first two games of their four game western road trip. The Cavaliers shot 47% from the field. J.R. Smith finished with 17 points and connected on five of his eleven shots from three point country. Kevin Love added 16 points and seven rebounds.
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt made a change in the starting lineup on Monday night. Tristan Thompson started at center and Timofey Mozgov came off the bench. The lineup change worked as the Cavaliers got the win. Thompson had five points and ten rebounds. Mozgov had four points and four rebounds. T.J. Warren lead the Suns with a game high 23 points off the bench. Phoenix was missing Markieff Morris, who was suspended for throwing a towel at head coach Jeff Hornacek last week, and Eric Bledose who will have surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.