Irving scored 40 points in the Cavaliers 95 to 90 win over the Boston Celtics and was spectacular in the first quarter and in the closing minutes of the contest.
Irving started the game off fast by scoring 19 points in the first quarter. His great start set the tone for the Cavaliers, and then his leadership and stellar play helped the Wine and Gold stay with the Celtics throughout the game.
And then in the fourth quarter when the Cavaliers were clinging to an 88-87 lead, Irving took over.
First, he drove the ball up the court after a Celtics miss and continued through the lane for a spinning layup on the left side of the rim to extend the lead to 90-87.
The next time down the court, Irving started at the top of the key and drove to his right against Celtics guard Rajon Rondo. When he got to the rim, he had to jump around Celtics big man Jared Sullinger, who moved over and bumped Irving. Irving made the shot, which was not easy, and also drew the foul. He then made the free throw to push the lead to 93-87 and pretty much ended the game.
“It was a big play that needed to be made,” Irving said about the drive for the three-point play in the final minute. He explained that his teammates want him to make big plays at the ends of games, and their confidence in him makes it easier to go out and take shots late in the fourth quarter.
Irving has come up big in plenty of fourth quarters this season and last season, and is as good as any player in the NBA in the final minutes. Tuesday night was another great example of his outstanding play in big moments.
For the game, Irving shot a sizzling 16 for 24 from the floor, while also passing out five assists and pulling down three rebounds. The Cavaliers needed a win like this, and Irving led the team to victory. He looked like an All-Star once again on Tuesday, and he should be named to the All-Star team when the official roster is announced on Thursday.