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Kyrie Irving Named Eastern Conference Player of the Week as He Rounds into Form

December 16th, 2013 at 6:18 PM
By Pat Murphy

'Kyrie Irving' photo (c) 2013, Erik Drost - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Kyrie Irving was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week today.

The Cleveland Cavaliers went 2-1 last week and Irving averaged 29 points, 6.3 assists, and 2.3 steals over the three games, while shooting just over 40% from the field.

This award comes as Irving begins to turn around his rough start – by his high standards – to the season.

Irving spent the first month of the year taking bad shots and missing them. Over the previous two years, Irving has gotten away with this. He has not been a great jump shooter, but his ability to drive to the basket and get lay ups have kept his shooting percentage high.

Fans have become accustomed to Irving making both big and near impossible shots, especially late in games. For whatever reason, he wasn't able to take over November the way he did the last two seasons.

In a 89-74 loss to the Indiana Pacers, Irving shot 6-for-17 for 15 points. In a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers a week later Irving shot under 25%.

This all culminated in a 0-for-9 shooting night in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks, where the point guard was held scoreless, missing his three free throws.

At points, Irving was helping to setup his teammates, registering 12 and 10 assists in two games last month but also had multiple two and three assist games.

After the awful night against Atlanta, things seemed to click into place for Irving. Maybe he finally got comfortable with his new teammates or Mike Brown's system. Maybe he grew tired of hearing how poorly he was playing or the questions about his future in Cleveland.

Since that game, Irving is averaging just under 27 points per game and just over six assists while shooting 47% from the field.

Not only are his numbers up, but he's also looking more like the player fans grew accustomed to seeing on a nightly basis.

Irving's return to form has benefited the team. The Cavaliers have gone 3-1 over that four-game stretch with their only loss coming to the Miami Heat.

Over this period, the team has begun to live up to preseason expectations, at least in terms of how they play. Since they call the point guard the quarterback on the court, it makes sense that Irving rounding into form would result in a better overall performance.

Four games is a small sample size but it is something. As Doug pointed out, the Eastern Conference provides an easier route to the playoffs and Cleveland is one game back in the loss column of the eighth and final playoff spot.

If they can continue to improve, and Irving continues to drive them, they might be able to climb up the ladder and make a run this season.

Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Basketball, Cleveland, Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Kyrie Irving, Miami Heat, NBA, Philadelphia 76ers

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