Kyrie Irving is widely considered a top-three point guard and one day soon may even surpass Chris Paul as the league’s best. But for now, the league still belongs to the Los Angeles Clippers’ star. Irving played well in his All-Star debut, but Paul had 20 points and 15 assists to earn his first Most Valuable Player award in the West’s 143-138 victory in Sunday’s All-Star Game. Irving had 15 points, four assists and three rebounds in 24 minutes, the most of any bench player in the East. “This was the best weekend for me,” Irving said. “I’m tired right now, but being around all these great players and being at every event was definitely an experience of a lifetime.” The game capped a remarkable weekend for Irving, who dazzled in the Rising Stars game with 32 points on Friday, won the 3-point competition on Saturday and had big moments again on Sunday — even though he didn’t get the start. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra elected to start his own player, Chris Bosh, in place of injured point guard Rajon Rondo and moved LeBron James to point guard instead. James, of course, is a power forward, but Spoelstra used the opportunity to give the Heat three starters in the All-Star game. Only it backfired when Bosh endured a miserable night. He launched three air balls, was abused defensively when two opposing point guards zipped passes between his legs and he inexplicably threw an inbounds pass half the length of the court — and directly at the Western Conference’s Tony Parker for a turnover. Bosh was 2-of-7 shooting in the first half with two turnovers and finished the night with six points and three turnovers. There were whispers all weekend Irving and James would play sparingly together, if at all, while rumors persist James could return to Cleveland in 2014.
NBA All-Star Game: Cavs’ Irving shines in debut
Akron Beacon Journal | Feb 18