If it’s the fourth quarter, it must be time for Kyrie Irving to take over the game for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The All-Star point guard was spectacular for the Cavaliers once again on Wednesday night and led the Wine and Gold to a 104 to 101 win over the Utah Jazz. The Cavaliers went on a 12-1 run to end the game, and Irving was the key player in the run, just like he has been in so many other games in the last two years.
In the last three minutes of the game, Irving scored eight points and made the two most important plays of the game.
First, with the Cavaliers down by four points with just over a minute to play, Irving drove through the defense down the right side of the lane and drew a foul while making a very tough lay-up. On that drive, as he does on so many other his drives, Irving used his ball-handling and speed to get by a defender and then held the ball out in front of him, and moved it around the defenders gracefully so that he could get the best possible shot.
It was a tough shot, but Irving was able to convert and then make the free-throw for the three-point play.
On the ensuing possession, Irving got a steal, drove the length of the floor and then made a perfect pass to a streaking Wayne Ellington for the go-ahead dunk.
Utah still had chances to win after that, but the Cavaliers played solid defense and the Jazz could not convert. Also, a lay-up attempt by former Cavalier Mo Williams looked like it was going to fall, but it rimmed out for the Jazz. I felt bad for Williams, who was always a loyal and a very good Cavalier, but it was good to see the Wine and Gold catch a break on a play like that.
Also, with the way he has been playing, it’s pretty easy to see that if the Jazz had taken a lead with any time left on the clock, Irving likely would have just taken the lead back for the Cavaliers.
Irving didn’t have a spectacular game, as he shot just 7 of 20 while scoring 20 points, but he was great when he needed to be once again.
The second-year player is simply outstanding for the Cavaliers in the fourth quarter, and it’s amazing to see him continue to excel in the clutch game after game after game.