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It didn’t take him long for him to show the Cavs made a perfect choice.

“When they drafted me, there were a lot of questions about my toe and everything, would he live up to the hype or whatever,” he said. “I didn’t pay any attention to all that, just being in these closed doors helped me have a vision and be focused every single day. I wasn’t the most heralded No. 1 pick. I had my own goals and I had my own team goals.”

Irving made spectacular moves and game-winning shots and earned MVP honors at the Rising Stars game during All-Star weekend in Orlando. But when asked what moment stood above all the others in a magical first season, Irving had a surprise answer.

It came, of all places, in a huddle during a timeout at Indianapolis.

With 4.4 seconds left and the Cavaliers tied 84-84 with the Pacers, Scott, who has formed a tight bond with his young star point guard, drew up a play for Irving to take the last shot even though he was playing just his third game as a pro.

“I was surprised,” Irving said. “We kind of knew each other. I didn’t really know the bald-headed man. I just knew that when he told me it was a high screen and roll, I was like, `I’m going to do my best to get to the basket.’”

Irving’s left-handed layup rolled out, and the Cavs lost in overtime. But Irving knew that from that moment on that the Cavaliers were his team and that Scott expected him to lead them.

“Just him having that confidence in me was a stepping stone for me,” he said. “It was a learning experience, and I needed it.”

A month later in Boston, with his father sitting courtside, Irving made up for the miss at Indiana. With the Cavs down by one, Irving, ignoring his failure in the previous situation, drove to the basket, split two defenders and flipped in a left-handed layup to beat the Celtics.

Irving arrived with none of the superstar trappings. There was no entourage or multimillion dollar shoe contract, no cameras chronicling his every move. He often tossed the praise on others and minimized his role in victories.

“One of his biggest attributes _ you can ask all of his teammates _ he’s willing to give up a little bit of himself for the greater good of the team,” said general manager Chris Grant. “That’s truly what makes great leaders. That’s what makes great people and great players.”

Irving appears to be the major piece the Cavs can build around, and they plan to get him some help next month with three of the top 34 picks in the draft.

“He’s great and the way he carries himself is really remarkable,” said Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who opened his downtown casino Monday night. “He’s 20 years old. He can’t have a drink legally or come into our casino but he can do everything else.”

Irving, too, is excited about the future in Cleveland.

“I know what we’re building here is something special,” he said, “and I’m here for the long haul.”