Kyrie Irving had a memorable night at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Friday as the third-year point guard recorded the first triple-double of his career in a 99-79 win over the Utah Jazz and was approached by a fan that ran onto the court with 6:20 left in the game. Irving finished the game with 22 point, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds. The triple-double comes just five days after Irving won the NBA All-Star Game MVP award.
With the knowledge of the stat line in the minds of several of Irving’s teammates during the fourth quarter, they began to actively box out Jazz players with the hope that the 21-year-old guard would pull down his 10th rebound of the night. Jodie Valadie of The Plain Dealer stated on Cleveland.com regarding the effort, “It’s a malady where every Cavalier found himself boxing out for a rebound, keeping Jazz players away from the ball, feigning effort and then recoiling… and hoping that Irving would somehow wind up with the ball.” The tenth rebound finally came with 4:12 left in the game and the Cavs well ahead.
Irving discussed getting that tenth elusive rebound with ESPN.com, saying:
“I was trying to not think about it too much, but my teammates were hollering at me to get one more rebound, Coach (Mike) Brown was telling to get one more rebound, a couple of fans were yelling at me that I need one more,” Irving said. “I said, ‘I got you guys, don’t worry.’ “
The Cavaliers outscored the Jazz 30-19 in both quarters of the second half accompanied by a strong defensive effort despite being depleted to an eight-man rotation due to injuries to Anderson Varejao (back), Dion Waiters (knee), C.J. Miles (ankle) and Anthony Bennett (knee). The team needed the win gain ground on the slumping Atlanta Hawks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Irving went on to tell Cleveland.com, “A couple fans were yelling at me that I need three more rebounds to get a triple-double, and I said, ‘I got you guys, I got you,'” Irving said, smiling. “But they were giving me a lot of support, which I really appreciate. Having my first triple-double at home makes it that much more special.”
SI.com reports on one fan who also thought the feat was special and decided to rush the court to congratulate the player himself. The fan ran straight for Irving, shook his hand, and was promptly tackled by security and taken away.
“He told me he loved me, I told him, ‘I love you, too, bro,'” Irving said.
Photo courtesy of Clevelandsportschat.com