Kyrie Irving Thankful For Health At Start Of NBA Playoffs

In fairly high spirits, Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving expressed his gratitude for being healthy upon entering this year’s NBA Playoffs. This is in stark contrast to his previous postseason experience, when he began having problems with his left knee, which culminated in a fractured kneecap during Game 1 of last year’s Finals against the Golden State Warriors, which put him out of action for the rest of the series.

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Now in good condition this time around, Kyrie Irving seeks redemption with teammate Kevin Love, who also had a similar experience with a dislocated left shoulder that sidelined him for the last three rounds of the 2015 NBA Playoffs. Having two of the team’s Big Three unable to play certainly dampened the Cavaliers’ chances at earning the championship against the Golden State Warriors. With both Irving and Love healthy, LeBron James need not carry the team all on his own this time around like he did in the Cavalier’s valiant but losing effort against the Warriors.

Kyrie Irving had much to say about the difference between last year’s struggles and this year’s optimistic outlook.

“Going into the playoffs last year, I think I was going into my eighth or ninth straight month of playing basketball, so it was different. I’m at a high level of playing, and going through the rigorous season and coming into the playoffs, I felt just really, really good.

Coming into this season, I think I’m going on four, four-and-a-half months of playing basketball. The amount of more preparation I had to have coming into the playoffs is a lot higher. It’s nothing I didn’t expect, that I had to put myself in a position in order to be great in these playoffs.”

Kyrie Irving and LeBron James defending against Tobias Harris Detroit Pistons’ Tobias Harris (34) drives to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (23) and Kyrie Irving (2) in the second half in Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Sunday, April 17, 2016, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 106-101. [Image via AP Photo/Tony Dejak]Unable to continue playing, Kyrie Irving watched the Cavaliers battle the Warriors in the NBA Finals from his hospital room after surgery. He then had to miss the first 26 games of this season to rehabilitate his knee. From this experience, Kyrie stated that he learned how important it was to embrace every opportunity to compete.

“You don’t want to take it for granted, just living in the moment and taking advantage of every opportunity we have to come into this series all healthy and feeling good about ourselves,” said Irving.

This is despite Kyrie Irving’s girlfriend Kehlani’s alleged suicide attempt due to online rumors of her cheating on him, as well as legal problems regarding financial arrangements with Andrea Wilson, the mother of Irving’s child, as reported here on Inquisitr. Time will tell if these issues will interfere with Kyrie’s focus on helping the Cavaliers make a second run at the NBA championship.

“It was very tough sitting there as a competitor and a guy who came here to win it,” said Kevin Love. “Was tough to sit there, but I’m looking at guys right now that stepped up in my absence and (Kyrie Irving)’s absence.”

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving against the Detroit Pistons Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (23) talks with Kyrie Irving (2) in the second half in Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Detroit Pistons, Sunday, April 17, 2016, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 106-101. [Image via AP Photo/Tony Dejak]While the Cavaliers were able to qualify for the playoffs, their season was marred by inconsistency and topped off by the firing of former coach David Blatt. Worries about team cohesion — especially the crucial partnership between Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and LeBron James — are a remainder of last year’s failed championship effort. However, there is still some optimism for Irving and Love to gel with James when it really counts.

“They’re engaged and excited to get a chance to get out here and have an opportunity to play in the playoffs again,” said Cavs coach, Tyronn Lue. “Last year, in that first round, Kevin was unbelievable. He was phenomenal and so was Kyrie.”

Kyrie Irving had been eager to play in the final game of the season, even he and five of their best players were ordered to sit it out to rest for the playoffs. Despite having other ideas, Tyronn Lue made sure that Kyrie did so after shootaround.

With their 106-101 win over the Detroit Pistons in Game 1 of the first round, looks like it’s “so far, so good” for Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers.

[Image via AP Photo/Tony Dejak]