After missing the first 24 games of the season -- and the final five games of the NBA Finals -- Kyrie Irving returned to action for the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 108-86 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.
In 17minutes, Irving had 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting and dished out four assists with only one turnover. Last season, his fourth in the league, Irving averaged 21.7 points and 5.2 assists per game. He shot 46.8 percent from the field and 41.5 percent from three-point range, which was a career best.
The Cavaliers played well without Irving this season, jumping out to a 17-7 record to sit atop the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers have sturggled to stay healthy ever since acquiring the "Big 3" of LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. The three finally found a groove towards the end of the 2014-15 regular season, but Love injured his shoulder in the first round of the playoffs and wasn't available for the remainder of the postseason. Cleveland still made the finals, but Irving broke his kneecap in Game 1 against the Golden State Warriors, who went on to win the title.
Irving did start Sunday's game 0-of-5 from the field, but he got more and more comfortable throughout, hitting five of his last seven shots. Once he got going, he was quick to enter his old routine of making ridiculous shots with a nice Euro-step.
There's reason to be hopeful in Cleveland. Irving is healthy, and the Cavaliers are ready to go.