LeBron James and Kyrie Irving led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 100-96 comeback win over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday and put a temporary stop to the NBA rumors that Irving is not happy in Cleveland as speculated in some reports over the weekend.
James had 33 points while Irving had 22 points and both sent a message to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who speculated in a recent show that Irving is not happy playing with James in Cleveland.
Along with Kevin Love, who had 13 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, James and Irving led the Cavaliers in minutes played and scoring. Big man Tristan Thompson came off the bench to post a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.
James and Irving played 37 and 35 minutes, respectively as head coach Tyronn Lue is preparing the core of the squad for similar playing time in the playoffs. James missed the previous game for the Cavs, who lost via blowout to the Washington Wizards last Saturday.
James shot 14-of-22 field goals while Irving struggled with 5-of-13 shooting but had 6 assists and was 11-of-11 from the free throw line.
J.R. Smith, who had 11 points against the Pacers, called out the Cavaliers for their poor play against the Wizards. Cleveland responded nicely in the home game against Indiana, who had a four-point lead with nearly four minutes to go and a three-point lead with 1:30 to go in the game.
Australian guard Matthew Dellavedova hit a three-pointer off a James’ assist with 1:13 to go and Thompson gave the Cavaliers the 96-84 lead with 39 seconds to go. The Cavaliers played good defense in the end game and held on to the win.
“Dating back to last year, I’ve been told that Kyrie Irving ain’t too happy being in Cleveland. The situation is not ideal for him. I don’t know the particulars, I haven’t spoken to him personally. It’s something that I’ve been hearing for months; that under ideal circumstances he would prefer to be someplace other than Cleveland,” Smith said in his recent show.
However, the Cavs recent win shows that Smith is probably wrong as Irving and James did not have any tensions between them on Sunday against the Pacers.
Photo courtesy: Erik Drost/Wikimedia Commons