Irving said on his Twitter account that he was sorry for not taking part in Fan Appreciation Night ceremonies Monday following a 96-95 loss to the Heat at Quicken Loans Arena.
Irving was stripped of the ball by Norris Cole — the final box score credited Cole with a block — in the closing seconds and then sprinted to the locker room, his explanation being he wanted to seek medical treatment for what a team spokesman later called a bruised right heel.
The rest of the Cavs players stayed on the court to give their game jerseys and tennis shoes to selected members of the crowd following Cleveland’s final home game.
On his Twitter account, Irving extended an apology to “all the Cavs fans” for his actions, which he called “truly unfair to you guys.”
“I’m very appreciative for all of you guys,” he posted. “Your love and passion for the organization and city is what pushes me to be great.”
In an odd and confusing postgame scenario, Irving became agitated after a team spokesman announced the point guard had a bruised heel. Irving sarcastically said that was the first he had heard about it and openly wondered how long he would be sidelined. Then, moments later, the 21-year-old claimed his desire to seek medical treatment was the reason he ran off the court.
The Cavs did not practice Tuesday, as they were coming off losses to Philadelphia and Miami on back-to-back days, but Irving, who has more than 500,000 followers, apologized via Twitter.
Cleveland (24-57), which currently has the third-worst record in the NBA, concludes the season tonight in Charlotte. The Cavs have lost five straight and 15 of their last 17, leading to a lot of speculation about Byron Scott’s future as coach. Scott is under contract through next season.
Irving, who previously sidestepped questions when he could have thrown his full support behind Scott, did that Monday for the first time, saying, “Absolutely, I want Coach Scott back.”
General manager Chris Grant is expected to meet with the media Thursday afternoon at Cleveland Clinic Courts, the team’s practice facility. If Scott is not going to be brought back, there’s a decent chance his firing will be announced then.
In one other bit of news, if the Los Angeles Lakers win tonight or Utah loses, the Cavs will get the Lakers’ first-round pick, which will be no higher than 17 and no lower than 19. If the Lakers lose and Utah wins, Cleveland will get Miami’s first-round pick, which will be No. 30.
- WHO: Cleveland vs. Charlotte
- TIME: 8 o’clock
- WHERE: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, N.C.
- TV/RADIO: FS Ohio; WTAM 1100-AM
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.