On this day five years ago, Kyrie Irving was a one-man wrecking crew.
The Cleveland Cavaliers guard scored 55 points to help lift his team to a home victory, 99-94, over the Portland Trail Blazers.
To make the feat even more impressive, Irving did it with LeBron James sitting on the sideline with a wrist injury. Even with the opposition’s attention mainly focused on him, he still managed to drop more than 50.
With the game tied at 94 and time winding down in the fourth quarter, the Cavs knew whose hands the ball should be in. Irving nonchalantly pulled up from the wing for a triple and drilled it, giving Cleveland a 97-94 advantage with 6.4 seconds left in the game and securing a franchise record for the guard: the most made three-pointers in a game with 11.
Irving shot 17-of-36 from the field, 11-of-19 from beyond the arc and went 10-of-10 from the free-throw line.
His teammates were certainly well aware of his heroics to win them the game.
The Spin on Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving and his teammates led Cleveland to its first NBA Finals appearance since 2007 in the 2014-15 season and only second trip to the ultimate series in the franchise’s history. The team fell to the Golden State Warriors, 4-2, but it famously got the job done the next year in 2016 with its 3-1 comeback over the Warriors to secure the first NBA championship in Cavaliers history and ending the Cleveland major pro sports title drought.
Irving spent six seasons with Cleveland, the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, before joining the Boston Celtics during the 2017 offseason via trade. He played in Boston for two years, then moved to the Brooklyn Nets in the summer of 2019 after signing as a free agent. So far this season, the guard has played 17 games and is averaging 22.4 points and 5.7 assists per game. He hit the half-century mark again earlier this season, posting 50 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Oct. 23, 2019, in a 127-126 overtime loss.