Cavs’ Irving Seizes The Moment, Then Learns How To Seize MVP Trophy

VIDEO: Kyrie Irving leads East to All-Star win

NEW ORLEANS – Kyrie Irving found himself in an unexpected place Sunday night, benefiting from unsolicited advice.

“It was just a combination of all the All-Stars there, all those great guys, they were just telling me the proper All-Star pose,” said Irving, the Cleveland Cavaliers point guard that scored 31 points, passed out 14 assists, helped orchestrate a comeback of 18 points in the Eastern Conference’s 163-155 victory at the Smoothie King Center, was named the Most Valuable Player … and still wasn’t ready for his close-up.

All-Star pose? This called for the MVP pose, young man. And that’s when LeBron James and some other All-Stars coached Irving up a little.

“They were telling me to hold it above my head,” Irving said of the spiffy, etched glass trophy handed to him by new NBA commissioner Adam Silver in the heady minutes after the final horn. “I honestly thought I did the interview first. Some of the All-Star Games I watched before, the MVPs usually did the interview and hold it up. But I guess I was wrong.”

Said James, a two-time All-Star MVP while still in Cleveland (2008, 2006): “I just wanted him to have his moment, and the moment is holding that trophy above your head. It’s the few moments in our year where you do that. [It's] winning a championship, it’s winning the MVP, the other [moment] is winning the MVP of the All-Star Game. … Seemed like he didn’t know exactly what to do, and I just wanted to try to give him a little tip.”

It was sweet that his friends, and James in particular, were eager for Irving to savor the moment. The Cleveland point guard has spent the first half of the 2013-14 season, and much of his career, lugging around the past and the future, the Cavs’ disappointing performance (20-33, bad enough to get GM Chris Grant fired) and questions about his long-term whereabouts.

It was nice, then, for Irving to live in the present for a minute. And to nail it.

“Man, he put on a show,” Miami’s Dwyane Wade said. “I said, ‘Forget a dunk contest, do a layup contest and he’ll win it.’ He’s got so much pizzazz when it comes to laying the ball up. He just did an unbelievable job of taking over and making big shots for us. He deserved the MVP tonight. Because of him, we’re all smiling a little bigger.”

Exhibitions or not, the East was aware that the West had a three-year winning streak and, halfway through, was looking to make it four. Led by Kevin Durant‘s shooting and Blake Griffin‘s throwdowns – the two combined for 42 points by the break, on their way to scoring 38 each – the West led 89-75. With 4:33 left in the third quarter, the gap was 123-105, and it looked as if the only serious competition was going to be which All-Star could get home fastest on his chartered jet.

But the East got busy, scoring 18 of the final 21 points in the third to get within three. In the fourth, Irving stayed in for all 12 minutes, sank seven of his nine shots and scored 15 points. He had help: James working some pick-and-roll action with Chicago center Joakim Noah, New York’s Carmelo Anthony draining two more of his All-Star record eight 3-pointers. Indiana’s defensive-minded coach, Frank Vogel, got the East – after it shot 72.4 percent in the third quarter (21-for-29) – to lock in on the other end in the fourth and the West went mere mortal, missing 17 of its final 27 shots.

Still, Irving, one of the game’s slightest and youngest players, did the heaviest lifting. Right through the postgame session, when he raised the trophy high. After winning the Rising Stars MVP as a rookie in 2012 and the 3-point shootout on All-Star Saturday last year, Irving got eight of the 13 MVP votes cast by media members and fans. Durant and Anthony each received two and James one.

Reality will come calling soon enough (though the Cavs won four in a row heading into the break, offering a little momentum if they seize it). For now, Irving and Cleveland had the moment.

“I don’t think they needed Kyrie Irving to win this to have a good vibe,” James said. “I think they know they have someone special. He’s very special.

“I just think it probably adds a cherry on top for him to receive this award. Not only for the Cavs but for Duke, St. Patrick’s [High in Elizabeth, N.J.] and everywhere he’s played. Being as young as he is, his second All-Star appearance and to be able to come out with the MVP just validates and solidifies why he’s in this game and why he’s one of the best point guards that we have in our league today.”

The best anything, actually, in this particular moment.

23 Comments

  1. Shawn Kemp no. 1 says:

    i don’t even watch the all-star game anymore. i only watch the events on saturday without the dunk contest of course.

  2. Paul says:

    I find this slightly annoying as well. 160 points for each team is nice, but simply trading buckets and standing there instead of playing D is BORING. What I would love to see in the all – star game is all stars who competed to win! A hard fought 100 – point each game is better than a 160 point no defense game, atleast for me.
    And a 1 vs 1 tournament would be highly welcomed. 24 all stars going at eachother 1 on 1, showing off their trademark skills. Tho the only problem with 1 on 1 is perhaps the rules, like, how do you determine the winner?
    PS the dunk contest this year was pretty good.

    • asdf says:

      Why would they? risk getting injured? they get 50k to play in the allstar game, 100k if they win, thats nothing for these millionares, If they got more money for a win they would compete.

  3. BBall..Fan says:

    If Irving, Hardaway Jr., Waiters, Melo, and Drummond can play that great then why do all their teams stink?

    • jhbh says:

      because there are 9 other players on the same court as them in every game, its a team sport, always has been

  4. dwllist says:

    This NBA all-star weekend was a healthy novelty. Those who see it as noxious novelty do so because of the threat of which change poses to them. Although, there may be need for improvement–looking through the lens of objectivity– the impetus taken to change should not be misapprehended for a type of failure. The NBA is built on longstanding tradition, of which, gave rise for many of us to derive joy from through its marketing and entertainment value. Yet, we understand that the NBA is an ever-evolving game– which unequivocally—solicits our attention towards the product. From a factual standpoint, the evolution of the game has been progressively linked to its accretion in revenue particularly, during David Stern’s tenure. This is part and parcel why the game continues to grow: due to its appeal to the new generation and their torrential integration within their mainstream brand. Change is something that we may initially rebuff, and cast brickbats upon, only to later appreciate its refined nature.

  5. celentano says:

    The only reason why all star is dumb’d down & weaken’d it’s because Stern let the nba all star game become what it is today!
    Silver ain’t gonna make difference today and the future.And another fact is there’s no competition drive anymore because of real champs with that hunger is starving out,check players like the ‘mamba’ was missing too!
    Due to his injury’s & near ending career it was a poor all-star edition again !With mamba on the floor i’m sure it was a hole different All-star edition at least with some competition and a goal to win that game for the fans!
    Nba today is barely to enjoy today,it looses my interest to watch further!

    • Not him says:

      It probably would have been different with “mamba” on the floor. For one thing the paint would have looked like a builder’s yard with all the bricks Bryant would have been putting up and as usual everything would have to be all about him. With the amount of games Bryant has played and the quality of his play he barely even deserved to watch the all-star game let alone play in it.

  6. Derrick Eason says:

    Lebron will be back to Cleveland sooner or later…I wouldn’t worry about it

  7. kiwisepp says:

    it is not a game , just call it ” all-star show”.

  8. lbj says:

    seizing the moment, then learning how to seize the mvp trophy won’t win you a ring. you need to play with our King “LeBron” in miami. we can trade point guard extraordinaire Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier.

  9. nhxman says:

    he’s my all time favorite player! it’s really hard to guard him. congrats KI! <3
    hope i will meet u soon if God permit :D

  10. Someone who used to be me says:

    In a way I’m surprised the east won, but as most of the game was just a scoring contest anyway I’m not. If it was a “real game” so to speak the west would have been the more likely winners. It would also be fun if they introduced a one on one contest in future all-star weekends

    • jhbh says:

      the west wouldve won a scoring contest which can be seen by the huge lead before the east d’ed up, the top east teams are more about defense than the west is

    • ko0kie says:

      pff.. if the east has way better defenders than the west, thats’s why they would win a “real” game

  11. allaroundballer says:

    The real and most awaited contest, the slamdunk is sadly ended too soon. Then the allstar game is getting worst, it was no defense at all. I’m not expecting a tight playoff game, but c’mon??? Why do you guys play anyway, is it realy all about showtime? Next year why don’t nba makes all 12 allstars compete on skill, 3pt and dunk contest. No need 5 on 5 game. Also Irving is overrated

    • Quay says:

      first of all, that is true , but irving is deffinantly not over rated? im a die hard cavs fan but i KNOW FOR A FACT that kyrie irving is NOT over rated . he is forshure a top 10 point guard in the nba right now.

      • allaroundballer says:

        Yeah top 10 and he was choosen because he’s from eastern
        1. Paul
        2. Curry
        3. Westbrook
        4. Parker
        5. Lilard
        6. Irving/Dragic?
        Not to mention Rose

  12. cry says:

    go back to cavs lebron

  13. Jimmy says:

    I thought the fans voted for all star MVP…