Kyrie Irving played in an NBA game for the first time in seven months Sunday. After shaking off some rust, Irving finished with 12 points, four assists and two steals in 17 minutes in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 108-86 victory against the basketball-like substance that is the Philadelphia 76ers.
With Irving back, the word of LeBron James and coach David Blatt will be tested; both promised to keep Kevin Love more involved in the offense this season after Love became an afterthought as the Cavs made a run to the NBA Finals last season.
With Irving, James and Love on the court together for the first time since April 26, Love had 10 points in 22 minutes while James had 23 in 25 minutes. It’s hard to draw too much from an easy game against a 1-28 team, but Irving said the offense will continue to go through Love now that he’s back.
From Cleveland.com, Irving said:
“Obviously any time me and ‘Bron can get the ball and run pick and roll in the middle of the floor or on the side and make a play, but for us it’s just about keeping our continuity and getting Kev more involved and making sure he’s a focal point of the offense every single time down.”
Love signed a five-year, $113 million deal to return to Cleveland with the belief he’d see the ball more, so it will be interesting to see if the promise is kept moving forward. If it’s not, and Love is the third option as the Cavs again make a run to the Finals, well, that’s the type of tragedy that makes Shakespeare plays so compelling.
Hopefully Love will find happiness no matter what happens on the court.