INDEPENDENCE — First, Kyrie Irving was ill. Now, the Cavaliers point guard is healthy, but sick and tired of answering questions about the team’s playoff chances.
“I’m honestly getting tired of talking to you guys about this,” a polite Irving said Tuesday following practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts. “Every game is meaningful at this point.
“It’s going to be the same answer: It’s a great test, a great will, it means a lot. You’re probably going to get the same answer over the next five weeks.”
With a 24-40 record and 18 games left in their regular season as a three-game road trip starts tonight in Phoenix, the Cavs entered Tuesday 11th in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland was four games out of the eighth and final playoff spot currently held by Atlanta, with Detroit and New York between it and the Hawks.
“They understand where we’re sitting at in the season,” Cavs coach Mike Brown said. “There’s not a ton of games left. We’ve got to get busy.”
The good news is that Irving, who missed practice Monday with the stomach flu but felt much better after receiving some intravenous fluids, fully expects to play tonight in Phoenix.
Swingman C.J. Miles, however, did not practice Tuesday and is questionable for tonight, but accompanied the team to Phoenix and expects to play at some point on the trip. After taking on the Suns, the Cavs play at Golden State on Friday and at the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
“The ultimate accomplishment would be to win these three games,” Irving said. “That’s what I’m striving to do.
“Every game matters. It’s as close to meaningful basketball as I’ve played the last three years. It means a lot to me.”
The schedule isn’t favorable for the Cavs, who are 9-23 on the road. Phoenix has a 36-27 record, including 22-12 at home.
Golden State was 40-24 overall and 20-10 at home prior to Tuesday, while the Clippers are 45-20 overall and 27-5 at home.
“It’s a great test for us as a team,” Irving said. “Every team we face is going to give us a big test, and we’re going to give them a test as well.”
After the road trip, the Cavs return to Quicken Loans Arena next week to host powerful Miami, Oklahoma City and Houston, but Irving has not given up hope of making the playoffs for the first time in his career.
“I’m never going to stop believing,” he said. “I’m never going to stop playing. I’m going to play every game like it’s my last.”