“To make a long story short, we win,” Allen said. “Y’all can YouTube this too, in case you think it’s fabricated. I was so upset with Rudy for not playing … I end up having 27 points, eight rebonds and like five steals. Mind you, I hadn’t played in 22-some-odd games, and this is to let you know how in shape I was. Durant had like 35, but they lost. When they gave me my interview, the first thing I said was, ‘It’s just all heart. Grit and grind.’ That’s how that phrase blossomed in Memphis. I was still upset. That was really a jab at Rudy Gay. But he’s my man today, I’ve forgiven him for that. But yeah, that’s where it started at in Memphis.”
October 19, 2017 | 11:21 am EDT Update
In an effort to create more space on offense and to make Dwyane Wade’s transition to the starting lineup a bit more smooth, head coach Tyronn Lue moved his All-Star over one spot, swapping out long-time starter Tristan Thompson. “It’s going to be tough for fives to move around with him,” Lue said recently. “When we run pick-and-rolls, they can’t really get out and show. He’s going to have a lot of open shots and we know Kevin, he can make shots. “When we play big and Tristan goes to the 5 and he goes to the 4, we’re back to our normal positioning. We’re going to try it out and see how it works. He was frustrated at first, but now he’s enjoying it.”
October 19, 2017 | 9:59 am EDT Update
But the Cavs certainly hadn’t forgotten that he quit on them and set out on a path for greater personal accolades. Cleveland.com reported that some players were upset about the Cavs’ production of a video tribute for Irving. It was never shown, with the team saying it had a floating time slot that never presented itself. Hayward’s fractured and dislocated left tibia just 5:15 into the game may have contributed. But considering the ire it prompted, perhaps not.