Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving’s 31 points and 14 assists earned him Most Valuable Player honors for Sunday’s All-Star Game in New Orleans, as the Eastern Conference overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to beat the Western Conference 163-155. Irving’s performance drew praise from fellow All-Star and former Cavaliers forward LeBron James.
“I think (Cleveland) knows they have something special,” said James. “This adds a cherry on top for him to receive this award. Not only for the Cavs but for Duke, St. Patrick’s (of Elizabeth) and everywhere he’s played.”
Irving swerved his way through the Western Conference defense, scoring many of his efficient 14-of-17 shots via eye-popping layups and 15 points in the fourth quarter alone. The Eastern Conference found themselves down as much as 18 points before finding their groove in the second half.
James, himself, finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. His impending free agency this summer will draw many suitors, including the team he played seven seasons for before bolting to the Miami Heat where he won back-to-back championships.
A tandem of James and Irving will be a major selling point for the Cavaliers organization in trying to lure the Akron, Ohio native back to Cleveland. James could see Irving as a complementary piece that could help win the franchise’s first championship—something he couldn’t accomplish during his tenure with the Cavaliers.