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Kyrie Irving on similarities between this year’s Finals and last: ‘This is a new journey’

Kyrie Irving, Tyronn Lue

Tomorrow night, the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers will square off against the Golden State Warriors inside Quicken Loans for Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

The Cavs, now trailing 0-2 in the series, have some work to do if they intend on defending the Larry O’Brien trophy. It’s a familiar scenario, as the champs were in the same situation this time last season.

During his media availabilty this afternoon, Kyrie Irving was asked if he and the Cavs could rely on the fact that they began their come-back in Game 3 of last year’s Finals. The crafty ball-handler says this is “a new journey.”

“You understand the journey and how much energy it took from a mental and physical standpoint in order to come back from something like that, but it’s definitely possible,” Irving said. “But also, the realization that you’re in a new moment. You’re on a new journey with some new guys and a new collective group, so you understand that it has to be different things done in order to be successful in this series. It’s gonna come from a very special place. And we’re gonna need everyone — from myself, to my teammates, to the coaching staff, to our fans — to understand how important Game 3 is.

“Going into (Game 3), we definitely want to limit some of our mistakes and things that we don’t want to necessarily mimic from Games 1 and 2,” Irving continued. “So, coming back home, watching film, seeing different things we can execute and do at a high level — we need to do. A lot of responsibility will come on our leaders of this team, as it should.”

The Cavs haven’t been getting much help from their role players in this year’s Finals. In fact, J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver, Deron Williams, and Tristan Thompson have combined for just 19 points through the first two games of the series. When asked about Smith’s lack of production in particular, Irving said he needs the supporting cast to “just be themselves.”

“We just need our supporting group to be themselves as much as possible,” Irving said. “Understand that they have a unique opportunity to make us that much better. For the majority of this season, it’s been on myself, Bron’ (LeBron James), and K-Love’s (Kevin Love) shoulders. And we’ve done a great job of getting everyone involved and making sure that everyone feels comfortable, but now, we need everything and everybody. I know they know how important they are, and it’s my job to exude as much confidence as I can in them in order for us to get the very best — and I will do that.”

Will Irving and the Cavs indeed be able to bounce back in front of their home crowd tomorrow night? Only time will tell. Game 3 is set to tip at 9:00 p.m. on ABC.

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