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Kyrie Irving.

Kyrie Irving is showing he has unfinished business with the playoffs

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The Cleveland Cavaliers are flexing their muscle in the Eastern Conference as they are currently 9-0 in the postseason and don't appear to be letting up anytime soon.

The Wine and Gold have been in devastating form, which has seen them sweep both the Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks, and now hold a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Toronto Raptors after a 31-point obliteration.

The production from the team's big three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love has been the driving force behind their amazing playoff run.

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LeBron's postseason form isn't a surprise to anybody as he often delivers on this stage. But it is the performances of his running mates which is making the Cavs legit contenders to finally win its first championship.

Irving, in particular, has been on a tear during the playoffs and his displays are the difference between Cleveland being good and great.

The point guard is the Cavaliers' leading scorer during their nine-game stretch averaging an impressive 24.7 points whilst shooting 49.4 percent from the field and an incredible 52.7 percent from beyond the arc. He's simply been unstoppable on the offensive end.

The 24-year-old's form is a welcome boost for the franchise after he endured an inconsistent regular season. Coming off a dislocated knee cap suffered in the NBA finals, Irving missed the opening 24 games and despite showing flashes of his scoring ability in multiple games, his overall production and performance level had dipped from his usual standard.

Detroit Pistons v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game One

He averaged a career-low 19.6 points, 4.7 assists, and three rebounds. Still very respectable numbers for any player, but not for one with the skills that Kyrie possesses, as he is now proving it in the playoffs.

Playoffs

Irving's outburst on the NBA's biggest stage shouldn't really come as a shock this year as the three-time All-Star hit the ground running when he made his playoff debut last season and has produced his best basketball when it matters most.

The Duke product was not fazed by the pressure of playing at this level and played a big part in the Cavs' run to the finals, which was sadly ended by the aforementioned knee injury in game one against the Golden State Warriors - an encounter in which he filled the stat sheet with 23 points, seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks in a fascinating duel with Steph Curry.

Losing the talented guard - after also losing Love in the first round to a shoulder injury - limited Cleveland's chances of lifting the Larry O'Brien trophy against a healthy and deep Warriors team, eventually losing the series 4-2.

2015 NBA Finals - Game One

It now appears that Irving is ready to make up for lost time and is approaching every game with a mindset of having unfinished business to deal with.

In their recent win over the Raptors, Kyrie dropped 27 points on an efficient 11-of-17 shooting and by showcasing his full repertoire of offensive skills, with a couple of jaw-dropping crossovers and behind-the-back dribbles to get the crowd - and the Cavs bench - off their seats.

On his best day, Irving rivals Curry for the best handles in the league and on this form he can well rival the back-to-back MVP for a ring if they meet again in the finals which I'm sure he's relishing.

“I'm always on Kyrie about staying aggressive,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said after the win over the Raptors. “Being aggressive because guys can't guard him one-on-one.”

Detroit Pistons v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Two

This version of Kyrie Irving, who is peaking at just the right time, should certainly bring a real sense of optimism to The Land that they can go all the way.

“The Kyrie that I see on a daily basis when you guys are not around is the Kyrie that I envisioned,” James said. “He's grown every single day, every single week, month, and over the course of these last two years or year-plus, becoming a leader and becoming a staple of our team.”

It isn't just his teammates and coaching staff that have seen the difference in his approach, though, it's his opponents too.

“He's playing fantastic right now, making shots, getting in transition,” Kyle Lowry said. “He's doing a good job of picking and choosing his spots, and he's been extremely efficient.”

Toronto Raptors v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game One

DeMar DeRozan added: "I think Kyrie is playing the best he's played all year."

It's a testament to just how well he's playing that the men he's currently going up against are even appreciating how much he's elevated his game.

The All-NBA performer has largely gone under the radar in comparison to the likes of Curry, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in this postseason but he definitely deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as them with his current play on the hardwood.

The Ohio-based team has only played nine games compared to OKC's 13 and the Dubs' 12, which makes it easy to forget what Irving has done so far as he and his teammates have had it relatively easy up until this point.

He may not be the best player on his team nor the go-to guy down the stretch, as a certain LeBron takes that mantle, but make no mistake about it, Irving is a key cog in the Cleveland Cavaliers wheel.

Topics:
Eastern Conference
NBA
Kyrie Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
LeBron James

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