Maybe Anthony Bennett should take off every night. As the rookie was out with a knee injury, Kyrie Irving recorded the first triple-double of his career, finishing with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 99-79 home win over the Utah Jazz on Friday night:
It's the first triple-double for a Cavs player since LeBron James, per ESPN's Daily Dime:
Kyrie gets his triple double. First for CLE since Lebron. Irving also 12 assists ties career high. Far and away his best game of season.— Dime Update (@DimeUpdate) March 1, 2014
It was also the 50th triple-double in franchise history, per Rick Noland of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and Medina Gazette:
update; Cavs now have 50 triple doubles in franchise history, counting 6 in playoffs. Last 34 before Kyrie had been by LeBron— Rick Noland MG/CT (@RickNoland) March 1, 2014
After the game, Irving said that the fans were doing their best to keep him up to date on how close he was to accomplishing the feat, per Cavs.com:
It felt good. It felt really good. A couple fans were yelling at me ‘I need three more rebounds to get a triple double.’ I was like ‘I got you guys, I got you. Don’t worry.’ They were giving me a lot of support out there which I really appreciate. To have my first triple-double, especially at home, it makes it that much more special.
The only damper on the night was a fan who decided to run onto the court with 6:20 left in the game. He was quickly apprehended and arrested by police.
This has become a bit of a problem for the team, per The Plain Dealer:
Not sure why #Cavs fans think it's cool to run onto the court, still. This is the third time in the last year that this has happened.— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) March 1, 2014
Seriously, the #Cavs are going to need to erect walls around the court if this continues.— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) March 1, 2014
That ridiculousness aside, the last few days have been good for Irving and Cleveland as a whole. Two days ago, the Cavs beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 114-104, on the road. The All-Star Game MVP led all scorers with 31 points, adding five rebounds and nine assists.
It's a needed boost for the franchise. Things haven't gone according to plan for the Cavs this year, with Irving's performance one of the main sticking points. Many have questioned whether he's been the leader that the team needs.
To make matters worse, ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst reported earlier in the week that 21-year-old may want to play elsewhere in the near future.
Watching Friday's win (and the win over OKC), no one would guess that any such problem exists. The Cavaliers are 2.5 games back in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and with Irving playing this well, it's only a matter of time before Cleveland cracks the top eight.