The circus came to Cleveland in June of 2003 and stayed in town until July of 2010 when a building size poster of its featured performer was ripped with rancor from the outside of a structure near Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena. Eighteen months later Cavaliers fans still have not totally gotten over the fact that former NBA MVP LeBron James dumped them for that team in South Beach, as was proven when he talked about possibly playing in a wine and gold uniform again in the future. Those statement reopened festering wounds as well as starting arguments between the fans of the club who would want the All-Star to return and those that want no part of him ever again.
After over a year and a half of singing the Blues about “The Man That Done Them Wrong” Cleveland fans may soon start singing “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” about their team, as the “New Kid On The Block” rookie point guard Kyrie Irving has shown more proof that he may indeed be the real deal over the last couple of games for the Cavaliers.
Sunday night, the number one choice in the 2011 NBA Draft knocked down two critical shots at the line before time expired and scored a game high 23 points to beat the Sacramento Kings 93-92. Tuesday night he and teammate Alonzo Gee performed emergency CPR on a lifeless Cavaliers team in the fourth quarter and jolted them back to consciousness as they went on to defeat the Detroit Pistons 101-100 in front of their home fans. The Pistons had led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter and went into the fourth on top with the score 77-66, when Irving and Gee took over the contest. The point guard knocked down 17 of his 25 points while Gee added another 13 in the period as the Cavaliers had their fans on their feet at the end of the game.
The team showed more initial confidence in the rookie than the club did with James as they started out the campaign with him in the starting lineup; James did not become a starter until after Cleveland traded forward Ricky Davis to the Boston Celtics midway through his first season. Although some fans of the franchise as well as members of the media disagreed with head coach Byron Scott’s decision, the point guard survived his baptism by fire and is leading the team in scoring with 18.6 points per game and second on the squad with assists as he has 4.9 per contest. Just as impressive is his averaging just 3.1 turnovers so far this season; a pretty good ratio for a point guard who plays 30.8 minutes per game.
The Cavaliers starting in the eighties had a strong history of having some of the best floor generals in the Association starting with Mark Price, but have lacked a “True Point Guard” since trading André Miller to the Clippers for Darius Miles about a decade ago. Derrick Rose showed how important an élite point guard is as the Bulls All-Star won the NBA MVP Award and took Chicago to the best record in the regular season last year. Irving so far has shown Cleveland fans that there is hope once again for life after LeBron.