From the very first possession of the game, you knew Kyrie had the ball on its usual leash. He flies past Russell Westbrook off a pick, loses control and more or less rolls the ball across the paint, then resettles in the corner and loops back around to the arc. By now he’s cut an odd path through the court—a Family Circus comic strip—when suddenly he spots a seam between Westbrook and Domantas Sabonis, bursts through it and floats one off the glass. In all, not a pretty possession, but still a somehow hypnotic display of ball control and improvisation. Given how hard it is to follow by eye, you can empathize with the confused Thunder defense, swarming in response to his every jittery dribble.
Later on he offered some more conventionally attractive tricks. Here he is sneaking past the arms of Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams (twice), and Jerami Grant for a wily scoop finish:
Plenty of Thunder defenders got a taste of Kyrie iso over the course of four quarters. Victor Oladipo succumbed to the double crossover:
Andre Roberson, as sticky a perimeter defender as you’ll find in the league, couldn’t manage to stay in front of Irving on this drive:
Despite his 28 points, the Cavs lost 118-109. Wipe the whole All-Star Weekend slate: it should consist of every active NBA player, in succession, trying to lock up Kyrie Irving one-on-one. That’d be much more entertaining.