You would think Cleveland of all places could sympathize with the Toronto sports landscape, but on Saturday night, the Cavaliers decided to turn the latest incarnation of the Bottom Feeders Cup into another painful memory for T.O. loyalists.
In the final seconds of a back-and-forth tilt between the Cavs and Raptors, newly minted All-Star Kyrie Irving nonchalantly trotted the ball up the floor, his team trailing 98-96 with 12 seconds to go. 6…5…4…3. By this point, it was obvious to everyone except Alan Anderson that Irving had absolutely no interest in playing for overtime. Even in the afterglow of DeMar DeRozan’s buzzer-beater from a couple nights ago, the outcome of the play was also rather obvious to anyone who’s followed the Raps this season.
And so, naturally, Irving launched a meekly-contested 25-foot jump shot that rattled in, simultaneously winning the game for his Cavs and making our own J. Tins look like the smartest man in the world.* It was the 11th (11th!) game this season that the Raptors lost after holding a lead in the fourth quarter. They win half of those games and they’re currently occupying a playoff spot.
Most of all, it was a painful reminder. The Cavs might sit lower in the standings, but in Kyrie Irving, Cleveland has something the Raptors haven’t had since Vince Carter**: a legitimate superstar.
Previously: Kyrie Irving, Your Next NBA Superstar
* – Around the same time that Irving’s 3-pointer was filling the basket, Marian Gaborik was scoring the winning goal in the New York Rangers’ come-from-behind win over the Maple Leafs, making for a truly disillusioning (and fitting) bit of cross-sport collusion.
** – All shade intended to Chris Bosh.