CLEVELAND (KRON) — You live by the three, you die by the three — or so the saying goes.
After going 0-7 from long-distance in the previous game, Kyrie Irving drenched the Warriors defense with seven three-pointers on his way to a 40-point night in Game 4.
It would be strange to call this a bounce back performance considering the 4x All Star dropped 38 points on Wednesday night, but after missing a potential game-winning shot in the winding moments of Game 3, Irving one-upped himself last night.
“The magnitude of the games, especially the last game, it hit me in a very deep place,” Irving said after the Cavs 137-116 win. “(It’s) just, you want to play extremely well and you understand that’s a do-or-die game in Game 3.”
In Finals elimination games, Irving’s scoring marks dating back to last year’s series are 41, 23, 26 (including a game-winning three) and 40 Friday — good for a 32.5 average.
He’s consistently executed at a high level for Cleveland when called upon and is undoubtedly there go-to guy in late-game situations.
“He’s just been very special in closeout games,” said Lebron James. “I said that over and over again, that he’s always been built for the biggest moments, and tonight he showed that once again.”
An elite one-on-one player, surely among the NBA’s best, Irving’s filthy ball-handling skills along with his canny finishing ability in the paint draws the “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd on a nightly basis.
In the Game 4 victory, the former Rookie of the Year rattled off 28 points in the first half, scoring in a variety of ways ranging from shake-and-bake step-back jumpers to left-handed floaters over a top-notch defender — sorry Klay Thompson.
Regardless of how he does it, Irving makes sure his impact is felt in a game, though it’s typically on the offensive end. But when his team needs him most, the 25-year-old points guard seemingly answers the call every time.
“He’s been playing well all playoffs. I think he’s averaging like 30,” said Warriors guard Shaun Livingston. “Great player. He’s one of those players who plays best when his back is against the wall.”
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