Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving admits that he was fatigued down the stretch in the Game 1 defeat to the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.
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Irving scored 30 points and led the Cavs towards a comeback for most of the game, but his efficiency dropped off in the fourth quarter and he has moved to take the blame.
LeBron James also insisted that he needed to be better after a disappointing outing by his usual standards, and so many are tipping Cleveland to come out firing on Wednesday night to tie up the series.
“The shots I was taking, especially down the stretch, they were fatigued shots,” Irving said, ESPN reports.
“It just wasn’t in the flow of our offense. Regardless of if I’m hot or not or Bron’s hot or not, it’s just the guys out on there on the floor, I just have to make better decisions — whether it’s going to be making one of my teammates better or me taking a shot.
“I’m willing to play as many minutes as I can, fatigued or not. Whatever it takes to win.”
Irving added that he wasn’t trying to use tiredness as an excuse, and he insisted that he knows he must get better in fourth quarters and deal with his personal problems in order to help his team.
The star point guard shot 2-for-7 in the final 12 minutes and missed his last four shots as the Cavs eventually lost 99-92 to their Eastern Conference rivals.
The 23-year-old had more than a week to rest after Cleveland swept the Boston Celtics in the first round, and so it appears strange to blame fatigue as an issue. However, he did average a team-high in minutes per game in the regular season and given the amount of work he puts in on the court, it comes as no surprise that he may well be risking burn-out.