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Kyrie Irving Takes Full Responsibility For Lost Game Last Night

The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the fourth quarter with a three point lead after LeBron James hit an end-of-the-quarter triple from the top of the key. It was capping off an incredible night for the Cavs, who had led by 11 points a few times and were able to withstand any Chicago run.

What transpired from there was simply disappointing and deflating, as Kyrie Irving played some of the worst basketball we’ve seen him play. Trying to do too much and turning the ball over a few times in the fourth quarter while the Bulls put up points on the scoreboard. Six minutes into the fourth, you looked up the scoreboard and saw a three point lead become a 13-point deficit as the Bulls outscored the Cavs 18-2 halfway through.

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Dave McMenamin of ESPN reports on what Irving had to say after the game.

“I was just real shitty with the basketball, that’s all,” Irving said. “Handle wasn’t crisp, and Justin Holiday threw great defensive pressure at the top of the key, and their defense was extending me out almost to half court. For me, just coming to the bench, I just got to do a better job of leading that second unit — especially when Bron [James] and Kevin [Love] are on the bench.

“It’s more of a letdown for me going into that fourth quarter and knowing that we had a decent lead going into that fourth. I just got to be better with that second unit. I take responsibility for what transpired there.”

The Cavs rolled out a lineup of Kyrie Irving, Matthew Dellavedova, Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye, and Timofey Mozgov to start the fourth, and it was a disaster. All five players have a negative +/- in the quarter with Irving at -6, Jefferson at -10, Mozgov and Frye each at -8, and Delly was a -2. That lineup blew the game up for the Cavs, but it was Irving’s job to lead them as the point guard. He did have four assists, which were dished out later in the quarter, but also had three turnovers and shot 0-3 from the field and couldn’t stop the fourth quarter bleeding for the Cavs.

It’s a story we’ve heard before, and something that is getting old, quite frankly, but something that is definitely fixable heading into the postseason. Shumpert does some ball-handling with the second unit aside from his stellar defense, so missing him tonight was huge for team.

“I just got to do a better job just leading the unit,” Irving said. “Just in general, just getting guys in positions and making sure our spacing is great every single time, and we’re running plays that are necessarily tailored for that second unit. Got to go back and look at film and just find a package, so when we’re out there, no matter who is out there with me — obviously, Shump [Iman Shumpert] is usually out there with me on that second unit — but tonight is one of those nights, a learning lesson.”

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Lue spoke on the turnovers that essentially cost them the game.

“My saying is always the same: Unforced turnovers are not OK, attack turnovers are,” he said. “We had a lot of unforced turnovers that gave them an opportunity to get into the break and not face our half-court D, and we paid for it.”

The Cavs now move on an Atlanta team they just beat in Atlanta in overtime. After that, they’ll finish their season off against the Detroit Pistons. Both games will be at home, and the Cavs need one win to officially clinch the number one seed.

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