Klay Thompson enjoyed a record-setting 37-point quarter last week against the Sacramento Kings, sending the internet into a frenzy and reminding people that Steph Curry is not the only #heatcheck member of the NBA’s best team. Not to be outdone, Kyrie Irving put up 55 points against the Blazers without the help of LeBron James. Elsewhere, Damian Lillard of that aforementioned Blazers team is thankful to his detractors for not being an All-Star, and DeMarcus Cousins, noted first-time All-Star, corrects a writer on Instagram.
1. Kyrie Irving scores 55 without LeBron because he can: There will be more on Klay Thompson’s incredible effort forthcoming, but for now we can marvel at the fact that both he and Kyrie Irving scored 11 three-pointers in a game (Klay’s all came in the same quarter!) within days of each other, falling one short of the NBA record. When the Cavs needed him most, which is to say, when the Cavs did not have LeBron, Kyrie delivered, going 17-36 from the field and a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line. Cleveland’s general upward trajectory since the turn of the calendar has been more like what we expected coming into the season, and beating an excellent (and Western Conference) team like the Blazers is as encouraging a move forward as anything we’ve seen. Kyrie’s performance spoke, perhaps, to a maturity and willingness to lead under duress, and the fact that he stood toe-to-toe with one of the NBA’s finest point guards, Damian Lillard, in a close game may signify a true change in mentality for the Cavs.
2. Damian Lillard does not receive an All-Star spot and is thankful for that: Speaking of Lillard, the Blazers’ cold-hearted hero missed out on an All-Star reserve spot despite being a borderline MVP candidate and averaging 21.8 points, 6.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds this season at the time of this writing. Naturally, the slighted star took to social media to express his outrage and promise revenge. Given his established reputation as a killer, Lillard on a warpath does not seem like a welcome addition to an already intense Western Conference playoff race. Opponents, beware.
3. DeMarcus Cousins has not been arrested in the last five years, much to a would-be clairvoyant’s chagrin:
Good look, Clay. Boogie can be our social media manager whenever he likes.