At the 2013 Rising Stars Challenge, Kyrie Irving again put on a big show on the big stage. A year after he scored 34 points in an MVP performance last year as a rookie, Irving put on another show. In a 32-point effort, the budding superstar had several moments that made Twitter explode due to excitement.
Early on, it looked as if Irving was going to take a back seat and distribute the ball to his Team Shaq teammates. He missed his first few shots and did not appear to be putting forth his full effort. In fact, he did not hit his first three-pointer until the eight-minute mark in the first half. But then a switch turned on, and in the second half, Irving began to steal the show. On two consecutive possessions, Irving made highlight reel plays that made jaws drop. For example, on one possession, Irving crossed over Detroit’s Brandon Knight and then nailed a sick jumper. On the next play, Irving weaved through the defense and finger rolled it in. For the night, Irving finished with 32 points, 14-of-20 from the field, 4-of-8 from three and added six assists. If Team Shaq had been victorious over Team Chuck, there is not doubt that Irving would have received MVP Honors.
This was the first night of a big three-day weekend for Irving. Tonight, he did what he had to do: put forth a big performance and got people talking about his play. Tomorrow night is the least important of the three, as he is not favored to win the three-point contest. But Sunday, where he will be making his All-Star game debut, Irving has a chance to put himself on the national stage. Assuming he plays a fair amount of minutes, Irving will put on a show. He always seems to do it on the big stage, and at this point in his career there is no bigger stage for Irving to play on.