BOSTON (CBS) — It’s hard not to marvel at what Kyrie Irving does with the basketball on a nightly basis.

He’s a magician with the ball in his hand, using an arsenal of absurd ball-handling skills to conjure up some free space, seemingly out of thin air. Just look at this drive from Boston’s 109-98 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. Irving appears to lose his handle, only to dazzle his way to the hoop for two beautiful points:

The Celtics have had a long line of point guards who can do some incredible things with the basketball, and it all began with Bob Cousy. The original Houdini of the Hardwood spoke about Irving’s game recently, and said among an extremely talented bunch of point guards in today’s NBA, Irving is the best in he business at getting to the hoop.

“This guy in my judgment is even more effective taking it to the basket,” Cousy told Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. “There isn’t anyone in the league that I can see who takes it as effectively. Maybe (Russell) Westbrook, but not with the same panache and creativity. Westbrook kind of overwhelms, overpowers you with his physical game. This kid just gets it in there and gets by anybody who tries to guard him.”

That’s some extremely high praise from a Hall of Famer, and those comments were not lost on Irving when relayed to him following Monday night’s win.

“Very appreciative, knowing what Mr. Cousy gave to the game, the Celtics tradition. I mean it’s pretty awesome,” said Irving, who poured in 25 points in 25 minutes on Monday night. “A lot of their talents during their generations were something that the people had never seen before. That’s what made them legends.

“They did it consistently, over and over again and legends live forever. So I’m just glad to get a compliment from him like that. Pretty awesome,” he added.


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