Kyrie Irving not going to get emotional about return to Cleveland

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BOSTON – Al Horford recalls what it was like the first time he returned to Atlanta last season.

He was cool, calm and collected … until he arrived at the arena.

The familiar faces, the routine he had established that was years in the making, keeping his emotions intact became a lot tougher.

“That’s when it starts getting to you,” Horford said.

Chances are Boston’s Kyrie Irving will experience something similar to that on Tuesday when he returns to Cleveland for the first time after having spent his first NBA seasons playing for the Cavs.

To Irving’s credit, he has carried himself in such a way where the return to the only NBA team he has known, has not impacted him emotionally … yet.

“Personally, it’s just basketball,” Irving said on Thursday at the annual Shamrock Foundation Tip-Off Gala. “Going up there, understanding the legacy that I was a part of, team-wise and individually, just seeing the maturity and the maturation process I went through of coming in as a 19 year old kid and being in an unbelievable city such as Cleveland, leaving with (a championship) … That’s pretty awesome to see that.

Irving added, “And also understand what it took to get that, the team that we did it with and the city of course. And moving on to here in Boston. It’ll be an adjustment but I’m looking forward to it.”

So are his teammates, all aware of what it would mean to not just win their season-opener but also what that win would mean to Irving who requested a trade from Cleveland in July and will surely have his share of boo birds in the stands jeering him on.

“It’s gonna be a fun atmosphere for sure,” said Boston’s Gordon Hayward, who might want to take some notes because he’ll be experiencing something similar to Irving when he returns to Utah for the first time. “A huge game for Kyrie, one I think we’re all looking to play our best for him. Not only for the team, but for him too. We know it’s a big game for him.”  

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