Kyrie Irving had zero assists on Friday in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 99-96 loss to the Chicago Bulls. The last time that happened was a Nov. 5 loss against the Utah Jazz. Against the Bulls, Derrick Rose hit a game-winner as time expired. Against the Jazz, Gordon Hayward did. That's where the similarities end, though -- the first time, LeBron James lectured Irving after the game. The second time, he defended him when asked, with Irving seated directly next to him, if his point guard should "get a pass" for the performance because he was bothered by a foot injury. 

"Don't none of us get a pass tonight," James said. "It's not just Kyrie. Kyrie could've had 40 assists, but if D-Rose still makes that shot, we still lose. So it's not about Kyrie, it's not about LeBron, it's not about Tristan [Thompson] and all the way down the line. None of us get a pass tonight.

"You know, we have to be better," he continued. "I have to be better. I had seven turnovers tonight. Maybe if I had four, then we don't put ourselves in that position. I also shot 8-for-25 from the field. Maybe if I'm 11-for-25, we put ourselves in a better position. I also shot 1-for-7 from the 3-point line and only had one steal. It ain't about Kyrie. Put it on me. It's not about Kyrie, Kyrie's gonna be great. And for the rest of us, we just have to pick each other up. It's not a one-man show."

It was more than a little awkward that Irving had to sit there through the whole thing. He shook his head as soon as it became clear what was being asked, and he looked down and examined the stat sheet for the majority of the time that James was speaking. It looked like he wanted to be somewhere, anywhere else.

Cavs head coach David Blatt revealed the fact that Irving was playing on a sore foot. He was obviously limited in terms of his mobility, struggling to stay in front of anybody on defense and unable to get into the paint as easily as usual. Irving shot 3-for-13 in his 38 minutes and said that his foot had been bothering him since Game 2 of the first round against the Boston Celtics. While James is right that it's not a one-man show, Cleveland has to hope he's feeling better on Sunday.

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(HT: The Cauldron)

Kyrie Irving can't believe it. (NBA TV)