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.
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.”
“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.”
“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]