Daily MVP Film Breakdown: Kyrie’s Clutch Christmas 40

On a day that most guys would rather be off, Kyrie Irving worked his butt off. He dropped 40 points and 10 boards in an overtime win over the 76ers on Christmas Day, taking advantage of some sluggish play by his opponents.

In a way Irving did spend the afternoon with his family members, who were watching from the stands. He told his teammates he was going to act up, and he delivered.

Irving started the game with a few plays that you don’t often see from a point guard on the smaller side. He posted up another guard, then snuck in for an offensive board and putback. It was a harbinger of the gritty game to come from Uncle Drew, and the lack of effort throughout the game from Joel Embiid.

Kyrie is one of the best players in the league because his game is incredibly nuanced. His handle is jaw dropping, he’s lightning quick, and he’s an expert at getting a defender anticipating one thing and then hitting him where he’s most exposed.

Now, about that defensive effort from Joel Embiid. Irving repeatedly took advantage when the Sixers’ All Star big man could not be bothered to play defense. Maybe he was distracted. Maybe he ate too much the night before and his tummy hurt.

Embiid often seemed more concerned with closing out to Al Horford than preventing Irving from getting to the rim. Maybe he thought he’d get more help from Ben Simmons, but if that was the case nobody told Simmons.

The defensive malaise was especially bad in transition, and Irving got a few easy assists out of it.

Irving didn’t just feast on Embiid though, he force fed buckets to one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA in Jimmy Butler. Often Butler played about as well as possible to stop him, but it didn’t matter.

If you know anything about Kyrie Irving, you know that for some reason he’s completely unguardable when his jersey becomes untucked. Maybe he gets a nice breeze that keeps him from overheating. Maybe there’s some extended range of motion. Whatever it is, Untucked Kyrie claimed another victim as he buried Jimmy Buckets and the Sixers late in this one.

Has Kyrie ever hit a dagger three from this spot? I can’t remember.

Once Kyrie’s jersey starts flapping in the wind, you might as well make like Joel Embiid and not even attempt to guard him.

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