Kyrie Irving’s Struggles Continue As Cavaliers Fall To Bulls

On Saturday, the Cleveland Cavaliers fell to the Chicago Bulls 105-102, and some of the problems that the Cavaliers have had all season were amplified once again in the loss. Mainly, Kyrie Irving went 5-17 from the field, and his play continues to be a concern for Cleveland’s playoff hopes.

On the season, Irving has been a shell of himself compared to last year. Of course, Irving’s knee injury that derailed his 2014-15 season is affecting his play. Irving is still clearly hampered by the injury, and his shooting displays this struggle. Last season, Irving shot 41.5 percent from three-point range. However, this season, that number has dropped to 31.6 percent. Despite the drop-off, Irving is shooting more three-pointers per 36 minutes than ever before in his career.

To combat this devastating trend, the Cavaliers have experimented lineups with Irving and Dellavedova in the backcourt of late. With Dellavedova on the court, his presence gives Irving the opportunity to play alongside another ball handling guard and a shooter on the perimeter. Furthermore, Dellavedova can guard the other team’s point guard, giving the chance for Cleveland to hide Irving on another opposing perimeter player.

If Irving is unable to run the second team, then the Cavaliers certainly have another option. Kevin Love is well-equipped to lead a unit, and he has the ability to expose bench players in a lead role for stretches of games. Although one of Tyronn Lue’s main focuses was getting Love the ball more in the post after taking the head coaching job, he has not been successful in that goal. According to, Love’s post touches have been nearly cut in half since Lue became the head coach. Still, Love can be the remedy for Irving’s season, but only if the Cavaliers can change the way the team uses their star power forward.

Irving’s struggles have once again brought up questions as to whether he is a true point guard and whether he is the right fit for a Cavaliers team looking to win a championship.

After Saturday’s loss to the Chicago, Irving put the onus on him according to ESPN, taking the blame for Cleveland’s inability to finish the game.

“I just got to do a better job just leading the unit. Just in general, just getting guys in positions and making sure our spacing is great every single time, and we’re running plays that are necessarily tailored for that second unit. Got to go back and look at film and just find a package, so when we’re out there, no matter who is out there with me — obviously, [Iman Shumpert] is usually out there with me on that second unit — but tonight is one of those nights, a learning lesson.”

Irving’s list of takeaways from the Chicago game seem like obvious requirements for a point guard, especially one considered to be a star.

According to Chris Haynes of, Irving’s struggles are weighing on his teammates as well.

“Players are growing tired of Irving’s inability to not only register a proper amount of assists at the lead guard position, but also to just move the ball.”

Ultimately, Irving will need to play better for the Cavaliers if the team wants to shock the NBA sphere this year in the postseason. However, if Irving’s current regular season translates to the postseason, Cleveland may be ousted early. This would only raise more concerns of the Cavaliers construction as a whole and may even lead to a notable trade in the offseason.

[Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]

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