January 11, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) drives to the basket during the first half against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving named Eastern Conference Player of the Week

What a week for Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. After being named as a reserve for the Eastern Conference All-Star team and leading the Cavs to three straight victories, Irving collected his first Eastern Conference Player of the Week Award on January 28 according to the Cavaliers official website. In the three games that Irving played between January 21-27, the sophomore floor general averaged 35.7 points, four assists, four rebounds and 1.7 steals, while shooting 61.2 percent from the field, 54.5 percent from beyond the arc and 95 percent from the free throw line.

On the season, Irving is averaging 24.2 points, 5.6 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals, while shooting 47.5 percent from the field, 41.0 percent from three and 84.7 percent from the charity stripe. Kyrie has only missed from the free throw line six times in January, compiling a monthly total of 91.5 percent. He also led the league in scoring last week and currently ranks sixth overall in that same category. Despite becoming just the seventh player less than 21 years of age to be named an All-Star, Irving most importantly helped lead his team to consecutive victories. Cleveland hasn’t put together a slew of games this impressive in a long time.

In every game that the Cavaliers played in last week, Irving finished with a performance of 30 or more points, making it the ninth time that he was been able to accomplish that feat. He is playing the best basketball of his young career in the month of January, as he is averaging 26.7 points, 5.5 assists and 2.4 steals, while shooting 49.2 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from three.

The Cavaliers needed the efforts of Kyrie in the fourth quarter in order to come away with three wins in as many tries. Against the Boston Celtics, Irving showed why he should be worthy of the All-Star title after a head-to-head bout with Rajon Rondo. Rondo was named a starter for the Eastern Conference team, but recent news of an ACL tear keeping him out the rest of the season will mean another backcourt player will get the chance to start in Houston. That could very well be Kyrie.

Cleveland came away with wins against the Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors in that order, but Irving saved the best for last. After going down by two points with less than 15 seconds remaining in the game against the Raptors, a calm and collected Irving approached the top of the three-point arc and subconsciously put the ball in the basket from 28 feet out. Watching a player grow this fast has been an incredibly exhilarating experience, and I see no ceiling for how much he can achieve in this league.

What was most jaw dropping about Irving’s week were his fourth quarter performances. He averaged 11.7 points in the final 12 minutes last week, which accounted for 32.7 percent of his total scoring. With a newly refined bench and the Cavaliers looking more and more like a team as the days go by, Irving could be riding the high that he’s on now for a while. Congrats, Kyrie.

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