There’s still no set return date for Kyrie Irving to take the court this season, but he’s apparently feeling well enough to take on LeBron James during shootarounds. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Irving and James played a modified game of one-on-one before the Cavaliers took on the Atlanta Hawks, with Irving emerging as the victor.
Kyrie Irving played a set of modified 1-on-1 games against LeBron James after the Cleveland Cavaliers’ shootaround Saturday and “destroyed him,” a team source told ESPN.com.
They weren’t true games of 1-on-1 in the sense that only one dribble was allowed per possession, thus rendering James’ significant size advantage moot as he couldn’t simply back Irving down with his dribble and post him up. Games finished with the first player to score three baskets.
Getting hot from the outside with his shot helped Irving succeed, per the source.
Even if they weren’t true one-on-one games, this still should be encouraging news. As McMenamin reports, Irving has progressed to running 5-on-0 plays and even some light contact drills. That’s still a far cry from him returning to the court, but progress is progress nonetheless.
So far, the Cavs haven’t suffered greatly in Irving’s absence. They’re currently 10-3 after making quick work of the Atlanta Hawks and sport top-ten offensive and defensive ratings. Rushing Irving back at this point would serve no purpose, even though they’d obviously like to have him on the court.