The start to the 2013-14 season hasn't necessarily been ideal for Kyrie Irving. The former top pick was shooting just 37.3% from the floor, and coming off a 10 point performance Friday night in which he certainly did not look like himself.
On Saturday he looked like the ol' sharp shooting Kyrie. The Cavaliers point guard shot 6-12 for 14 points in the first half, and the Cavaliers found themselves up 53-48 going into the third quarter. The Cavs front court, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao combined for 22 in the first two quarters. Philadelphia truly missed Daniel Orton tonight, who missed his second straight game with right knee soreness, as Thompson repeatedly torched Brandon Davies around the rim.
Thaddeus Young led the Sixers with 14, once again showing some range from three (he was 2-2 in the first half), and backup point guard Darius Morris was 4-4 from the field for 10 points.
Once the second half started, all hell broke lose.
Evan Turner and Irving began going blow for blow, with Turner doing a tremendous job of creating separation for himself on his jump shot, and Kyrie able to hit from just about anywhere on the floor with his eyes shut. While Turner was doing most of the scoring, it was Carter-Williams great decision making that was helping to keep the game tight. The rookie from Syracuse frequently found Varejao and Irving attempting trap him off pick and rolls, and while that limited his ability to put up points, it certainly didn't stop him from making plays. The 6'6" guard used his length to find Thad Young open in the paint, and Turner out on the wing for a jump shot.
Even with the shot wasn't falling for him, MCW found a way to get onto the stat sheet.
The stat line shows the fourth was all Kyrie Irving, but he struggled early on in the quarter when matched up against Tony Wroten. Wroten, who had just four points on the evening, was tenacious defensively, hounding Irving all over the court. Once he was removed in favor of James Anderson and MCW was forced to guard Irving was when the tide turned for the Cavaliers. He had 11 points in the final frame, and helped extend the lead to three with 45 seconds left by finding Jarrett Jack for an open corner jump shot. However, the Sixers battled back, and it was none other than Thad Young who knotted the game at 107 with five seconds on a drive past Tristan Thompson to the hoop.
Irving had a chance at a game winning layup but missed it. He'd get a chance to later redeem himself.
It seemed as though it'd only take one overtime to end Saturday's contest when the Cavaliers extended their lead to as much as seven with 1:35 to go, but Philadelphia refused to tank, er, throw in the towel. MCW would knock down his first three of the game, and two Turner layups would tie the game at 116 with eight seconds left. Once again, Kyrie would miss a chance at the game winner.
Like I promised, he'd redeem himself. We're getting there.
So the teams entered a second overtime, and despite another four points from Kyrie, an absurd three pointer from Carter-Williams with a hand in his face to for the eighteenth time tie the game with eleven seconds left. MCW finished the game with 21 points and 13 assists.
I can only presume Irving was sick and tired of all these overtimes, because he was able to sink the game winning layup just before time expired, giving him 39 points on the evening.
Philadelphia would fall to Cleveland 127-125, but it sure as hell not for a lack of effort.
It was fun. It was exhilarating. It was how Sixers basketball should be. They'll be back in action at home against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.