First of all, let me state emphatically, and unabashedly, that this is a promotion to gain more votes for Kyrie Irving as All-Star guard for the Eastern Conference. Don't leave me yet. We have a problem here. The biggest vote-getter in each Conference gets to be Captain, and therefore, is allowed to choose many of his own teammates. The vote is very close, with Lebron James leading Kyrie by only about 300,000 votes. So that is part of why this matters. Thus far, it looks like either Kyrie or Lebron James will be at the top of the vote list and take over as Eastern Captain.

I have written previously in CelticsLife about the lack of dignity in the Cavaliers All-Star voting campaign, and I stand by that. But dignity be damned! This is important. I have repeatedly stated the extremely high regard I have for The King as a player, but his theatrics often turn me off. In coming to Boston, Irving has not only stepped out of Lebron's shadow, he has created one of his own.

Kyrie had done everything asked of him, and much more. Hell, in the last five games he is averaging an astonishing 7.6 rebounds per game, while still managing to hand out an average of 5.4 assists. He had a plus/minus of +22 in the 114-103 win yesterday against the Philadelphia 76'ers. Not so good with the Cavaliers versus the Raptors last night. Cleveland lost to the Raptors 133-99 in their worst rout of the season. Here are a few tidbits via NBA's Ian Harrison:

James, struggling Cavs routed again, Raptors romp 133-99

LeBron James isn't enjoying the view lately, watching the end of blowout losses from the Cleveland Cavaliers' bench.

The Cavaliers have dropped six of eight dating to a Christmas Day defeat at defending champion Golden State. James scored 26 points in this loss while Isaiah Thomas missed his first 11 shots.

So, what has been James' biggest beef with Cleveland's last two losses?

''That I haven't played in the fourth quarter,'' he said, adding his team is getting ''tore up.''

James' plus/minus for the game was -22. Isaiah Thomas' was -22, and he scored only four points in 24 minutes on 13% from the floor. Jae Crowder had a plus/minus of -17. Isaiah is still scraping off rust from his hip injury, but both he and Jae are not having stellar seasons. It could be argued that Lebron has not made them better players. Stating the last two Cavalier losses happened because he wasn't playing enough doesn't sound like a true leader, or All-Star Captain to me.

Am I biased? You bet! Am I ashamed to be conducting the type of campaign I derided? Not a bit! Dwyane Wade at #5 in the voting, and Isaiah at #7 for Eastern guards, while both sit on top of Kyle Lowry, Bradley Beal and Jaylen Brown is a sham. Lebron over Kyrie as top vote-getter in the East needed to be addressed. That it what I am doing. "Boston, we have a problem!" It needs to be fixed.

The NBA All-Star voting ends at 11:59 PM (ET) on Monday, January 15. Your vote counts double today. I was a somewhat doubtful about Kyrie coming to the Celtics, but no more. I love the guy and what he has done for the city of Boston and the Celtics. This is important. Thanks for listening.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Tom Lane 1/12/2018 08:01:00 AM Edit
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