INDEPENDENCE (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Cavaliers are currently in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, their longest skid of the season.
But help could be on the way soon in the form of Kyrie Irving.
Following practice Saturday afternoon at Cleveland Clinic Courts, Head Coach Byron Scott didn’t sound that optimistic about his point guard’s potential return. “He was just out there getting some shots up,” Scott said of his All-Star, who was taking shots following practice with forward Tristan Thompson. “Still no update.”
Forward Luke Walton made it sound much more likely that Irving returns to help the Cavs sometime in the final 11 games this season.
“We’re going to play better basketball these last 11 games,” Walton said. “Hopefully with Kyrie coming back he will give us that spark needed to get us going in the right direction again.”
So does that mean the Cavs leading scorer will return on Sunday against the New Orleans Hornets?
“I don’t know,” Walton said. “He practiced today so I hope that means he’s coming back.”
The Cavs have repeatedly said they won’t rush Irving back until he is 100 percent.
“What’s more important for Kyrie is to make sure his shoulder is healthy at this point. We have to think about what is best for his future and the team’s future,” Walton said about a possible Irving return. “We joke and kid about wanting him back but we’ve also told him to make sure he’s healthy because you don’t want to re-injure that shoulder as young as he is.”
This Monday night will mark three weeks since he injured his shoulder in a loss against the Toronto Raptors.
It will take a little bit more than just an Irving return to snap the team’s losing streak.
A little defense wouldn’t hurt.
The Cavs are allowing more than 104 points per game over the last seven contests.
“We still have to get better on that end of the floor,” Scott said. “Our communication and rotations have to get better,” Scott added. “Things that we do everyday and talk about. It’s just a matter of guys going out there and doing it.”
Despite the lackluster defense and the seven-game losing streak, Scott insists his team hasn’t given up yet.
“The one thing I do know for certain in that locker room is that’s the one thing they haven’t done,” Scott said. “Right now our margin for error is so small that it’s tough.”
There are 11 games left for the Cavs before the final buzzer sounds on another disappointing season. The team looks destined for another-50 loss campaign and they have long been eliminated from the playoff picture, but don’t try telling Scott that these final 11 games are meaningless.
“We’ll find out in the next 11 games what type of guys we’ve got as far as guys you want to go to battle with or guys that you don’t.”