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Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters Need to Stay Hot After All-Star Weekend
While all the talk centered on Kevin Durant and LeBron James heading into the NBA All-Star weekend, Cleveland Cavaliers guards Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving went out and stole the show on Friday and Sunday night—with Irving taking home the All-Star game MVP award when it was all said and done.
Waiters may have not earned the MVP Award in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, but he went head-to-head with Tim Hardaway Jr. for the most exciting back and forth of any game all weekend. The Cavaliers’ sixth man scored 15 consecutive points in the game, and finished with 31 points and seven assists on the night—going 4-of-6 from three-point land. If it wasn’t for Andre Drummond’s monster performance with 30 points and 25 rebounds, the Cavaliers could have had two MVP trophies coming back to Cleveland.
Speaking of MVP trophies, Irving led the East back when it counted the most, scoring 31 points, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out 14 assists on the night. Irving scored 15 points in the fourth quarter alone, showing off his “Mr. Fourth Quarter” moniker on the national stage. He may not have had the most points in the game, but his impact when the defense was at its peak was good enough to take home award.
With the Cavaliers riding high into the All-Star break on a four-game winning streak, many were worried the team would lose some of its steam when it takes the court on Tuesday night against the quickly fading Philadelphia 76ers. However, with its two biggest stars shining bright on a national stage, Cleveland just may have a run to the playoffs in store in the second half of the season—especially if Irving and Waiters can pick up where they left off after the weekend.
Sitting at 20-33, the Cavaliers find themselves just three games behind the Charlotte Bobcats for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. What is even more incredible is the fact that the Cavaliers are only six games behind Atlanta for the No. 5 seed, as the Hawks are 25-26 on the season. In what has been a confusing season which led to the firing of general manager Chris Grant, somehow the Cavaliers are within striking distance of heading to the playoffs.
It may seem like we are getting ahead of ourselves, especially given this team’s ability to fall flat on its face at any time. But with a stretch coming up composed of Philadelphia, Orlando, Toronto twice and Washington, the Cavaliers have a chance to take their winning streak to “on fire” status before heading to Oklahoma City next week.
In the first half of the season, the Cleveland Cavaliers were a team riding a sinking ship into what seemingly looked like was going to be a major roster blowup before this Thursday’s NBA Trade Deadline. Instead, with interim general manager David Griffin at the helm, the Cavaliers could be a team on a mission in the second half of the season. And if its two brightest stars learned anything from watching each other star in their respective games this weekend, Cavaliers fans could have something to be excited about the next couple of months.
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