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LeBron James, Kyrie Irving separately discuss duo’s evolving relationship

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By all indications, including rumors of a behind-the-scenes confrontation, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving seemingly have experienced a few rough patches as they have attempted to build a working relationship on the court and forge a genial friendship off of it.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers winning a lot more than losing as the team attempts to hold on to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, it certainly appears that the two superstars have managed to get past their purported differences, and have at least learned how to functionally coexist in a collective pursuit to make a run at the NBA Finals.

In exclusive, separate interviews with Northeast Ohio Media Group, both James and Irving acknowledged that their relationship is still developing but appear to insist that the worst of the growing pains are finished.

Irving recollects in the interview how James confronted him after a game earlier this season when he scored 34 points but dropped no dimes.

“He came up to me and was like, ‘One, you can never have another game with no assists,’ ” Irving said, recollecting the interaction following a loss to the Jazz in November. “‘You can damn near have just one, two, three, but you can’t have zero.’ And I was like, ‘All right, cool, it won’t happen again.’ And it hasn’t happened since that game.”

While James certainly was riding his point guard pupil hard, he noted that in the end, it isn’t about being pals, it’s about winning a championship.

“Friends or no friends, at the end of the day we’re all here to do one thing, and that’s to win,” James said, who also claims in the interview he has only “three very good friends” playing in the NBA.

Irving acknowledged that it hasn’t been a smooth ride trying to build a bond with James, saying, “I don’t want to say it’s not been rocky at all.”

James obviously experienced a rough transition from the veteran presence he enjoyed with the Miami Heat and the youthful inexperience he encountered upon arriving back in Cleveland. At times early on practically treating his teammates like children, James’ increasingly favorable perception of the Cavs roster — and Irving in particular — has evolved as the team has come together and drastically improved.