The Cleveland Cavaliers are sitting comfortably in the Eastern Conference's 2-seed right now—an accomplishment in the standings that was inevitable this season, because of one LeBron James. Having the best player of his generation in his prime should get you to at least 50 wins and a playoff spot. That's the bare minimum you'll get by having LeBron on your team for the season. Yet while the Cavs look like they're ready to steamroll the East come playoff time, do recall how they sputtered out of the gate.
In a feature on Kyrie Irving and LeBron James' relationship by Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, Irving recalls how tough the early going was for him. He specifically remembers the Cavs' fourth game of the 2014-2015 season, and how it's gone on to impact him moving forward. That November night, the Cavs lost 102-100 to the Jazz in Utah despite Irving going off for 34 points and LeBron tacking in 31 of his own. Back-to-back losses, and one win from the team's first four games wasn't how LeBron's homecoming was supposed to go. After the game, LeBron pulled Kyrie over and checked him.
"He came up to me and was like, 'One, you can never have another game with no assists. You can damn near have just one, two, three, but you can't have zero.' And I was like, 'All right, cool, it won't happen again.' And it hasn't happened since that game."
In Vardon's piece, Irving explores how he and LeBron have become closer since that difficult start of the season. "I don't want to say it's not been rocky at all," he admits.
"Obviously, he sees the game one way, I see the game another way. What makes it great about being on the team is that we both can see it together in our own way.... I feel like that's the biggest thing we've built is we're starting to trust one another more. It took time."
Word to all of that. Things this great never come overnight.
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