Of the three now-infamous plays that secured the Cleveland Cavaliers’ first ever NBA championship last summer, “The Shot” is perhaps the most legendary. Sure, Kyrie Irving doesn’t get the chance to hit the go-ahead 3 over Steph Curry if it isn’t for “The Block,” and maybe the game ends differently without “The Stop,” but Irving’s dagger from just beyond the 3-point line on the far right side of the court will forever be replayed when we indulge our nostalgic about the 2016 NBA Finals.
“The Shot” is the most iconic of Irving’s makes from that area of the court, but the Cavs point guard seems to gravitate toward that area of the floor, as if stepping in its vicinity jacks up his shooting percentage to 100 percent like some NBA 2K cheat code. In 2015, a year before the biggest shot of his life, Irving pulled up over Kawhi Leonard from the exact same spot at the buzzer to send an instant classic Spurs-Cavs regular season bout to overtime. Irving would finish with 57 points that night.
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That same season, in the final seconds of a 55-point explosion against the Portland Trail Blazers, Irving hit a 3 over Nicholas Batum with 6.4 seconds left to give the Cavs a 97-94 lead. Guess where he hit it from?
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This season, in early February, Irving hit a 3 over Bradley Beal to give the Cavs a 136-133 lead in a thrilling game in Washington from, yup, his favorite spot on the floor.
You might think that Irving is consciously trying to get to his shooter’s haven in the waning moments of big games, but Irving says he’s honestly not doing it on purpose.
“I’m not really conscious of it,” Irving told STACK while hanging out at Mountain Dew’s “Courtside HQ” pop-up in New Orleans over All-Star Weekend. “It just happens to be where, somehow I end up going over to that spot sometimes. I’m able to shoot or go by and pass my defender over in that area and I’ve become somewhat good at it. I’ve hit a few big shots over there, so it’s been good.”
He may not realize where he is on the floor when he’s hitting another enormous 3, but once the ball swishes through the net, Irving becomes acutely aware of exactly where he is.
“I realize it, but I try to be nonchalant about it,” Irving said with a laugh. “But that spot’s been pretty good to me.”