Duke in the NBA: Kyrie Irving advances to first NBA Finals



With just the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors left vying for the NBA crown, we take a look at the recent play of the only Blue Devil remaining in the postseason.

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers: Although Irving spent much of the Eastern Conference Finals on the sidelines, the Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Atlanta Hawks 4-0 behind the play and leadership of LeBron James—who advanced to his fifth consecutive Finals.

Irving did not suit up in the Cavaliers thrilling 114-111 Game 3 victory due to a left knee injury and a right foot strain. Yet, the 6-foot-3 point guard returned to the court for the first time in six days as the Cavaliers looked to win Game 4 and advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. The fourth-year guard looked fresh and it appeared that his extended rest helped his play as he recorded 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting in 22 minutes of action.

Following the Cavaliers' 118-88 rout in Game 4, the former Duke standout was ready to celebrate his team's remarkable run to the finals and was recorded having a good time with teammates James, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert.

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As the Cavaliers prepare to take on the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors, Irving's status remains a big question mark for the team.

Although the guard has continued to state that he is capable of playing and a nine-day layoff between Tuesday's victory and Game 1 of the Finals will certainly help, the Cavaliers desperately need the former Blue Devil to be close to 100 percent and ready to make an impact for the squad.

Irving—who was named to the All-NBA Third Team after his stellar regular season—will be the x-factor for the Cavaliers as they prepare to take on the Golden State Warriors. With postseason averages of 18.7 points and 3.7 assists per game, the fourth-year guard prevents a much needed source of offense around James. The former Duke standout is also adept at using his excellent ball-handling skills to create open jumpers or lanes to the basket for himself.

If Irving can hold his own against Warriors superstar Stephen Curry on both sides of the ball, the Cavaliers will have a shot at bringing home their first ever NBA title.


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