Kyrie Irving had a simple message for LeBron James during their dramatic, 122-121 comeback win over the Boston Celtics Friday night. And the four-time league MVP proved more than open to taking it to heart.
“Kyrie told me to be aggressive and stop being so passive,” James told ESPN after exploding for nine points over a four-minute, fourth-quarter stretch. In all, James finished with a season-high 41 points as the Cavs (4-3) climbed above .500 for the first time all season.
Irving chipped in with 27 for the Cavs, including combining with James to score 25 of Cleveland’s last 38. But his biggest contribution of the night may have been his advice to James.
“Early in the fourth quarter he got it going, so I kind of laid back and let him go and he said, ‘Be aggressive and make some plays,’ said James. “So I told him all he got to do is talk to me.”
James and Irving reportedly recently exchanged angry words following a blowout loss to Portland during which they blatantly lacked chemistry.
“I know what he’s capable of and everybody in the world knows what he’s capable of, and it’s more or less I feel like sometimes he takes his foot off the gas a little bit when he can punish guys,” Irving said. “And he knows it. He’s been in this league a long time. I’m not telling him anything he doesn’t know.”
James is taking the learning curve he and his new mates are enduring all in stride.
“It’s a process, and we learn from it,” he said. “I think on our team we have to see what we do well and what we don’t do so well. Right now, I feel like the young guys are like my kids. They’re not accustomed to reading textbooks. They like iPads. And you got to show them it looks better for them and that’s the process we’re in right now. You can’t just tell them. You have to show them on film and see when they do it right this is the result of it.”[Photo Credit: Keith Allison]