CLEVELAND - Just prior to tip-off of the 2017-18 NBA season opener between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving wouldn't so much as share a glance with one another.
What a difference 48 minutes makes.
After Irving missed what would have been the game-tying shot in the Celtics 102-99 loss to his former team, the ex-Cavs star not only shared a hug with James, but performed the duo's old signature handshake. Irving then proceeded to perform similar elaborate embraces with his ex-Cavaliers teammates, including J.R. Smith, Kevin Love and Channing Frye, seemingly ending any awkwardness that still existed after Irving requested a trade from the Cavs franchise over the summer.
With new co-star Gordon Hayward leaving the game in the first quarter with a dislocated ankle and tibia fracture, Irving had helped carry Boston to a fourth-quarter comeback against the Cavs, scoring 22 points and dishing out 10 assists on the night. That, however, wasn't enough to overcome James, who turned in a masterful 29-point, 16-rebound, 9-assist effort of his own, leading Cleveland to a 1-0 record to start the 2017-18 season.
At one point, Irving had switched onto James during a Cavs offensive possession, which drew oohs and ahhs from the Quicken Loans Arena crowd. But after a summer of trading not-so-subtle social media jabs, that appeared to be the last of any animosity that remained between James and Irving.
"Anytime you win a championship with someone," James said of Irving after the game, "you think about that moment,"
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