Thursday night’s TNT opening matchup between the New York Knicks and the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers was surprisingly tight, considering the major struggles of the Knicks in this early season. The day after Nike introduced him as a signature athlete and unveiled the KYRIE 1 – available to the public just before Christmas – Kyrie Irving broke out for a monster game at basketball’s biggest stage in the world, Madison Square Garden.
When Uncle Drew wasn’t throwing up a sick reverse layup while changing hands in mid-air, he was busy dazzling the crowd with his blazing handles, exploding to the rim and impressing fans with his jumper. The All-Star’s best offensive possession came when he brilliantly drove to the lane to swish in a clutch teardrop with 10 seconds remaining in regulation. This beauty of a play gave the Cavs a three-point lead and eventually sealed the deal in a 90-87 victory — Cleveland’s fifth in a row.
While LeBron James took over passing duties for the night, he finished with 12 assists to go with his 19 points, the spotlight under the bright lights of Manhattan on Thursday night belonged to Kyrie Irving. The 22-year-old finished with an incredible, season–high 37 points on 12-18 shooting. Irving now has 10 straight 20-point performances against the New York Knicks.
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