The Dallas Mavericks suffered a 124-122 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. Aside from one victory against the hapless San Antonio Spurs, they have not won with both Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving on the floor.
The last two defeats, especially, have come in particularly close games. Versus the Minnesota Timberwolves, Irving made a bad decision late which he then tried to explain away in pretty typical fashion. Against the Pacers, Irving had the ball late with an opportunity to be the hero only to clank it.
Kyrie Irving got a good look for the win but came up short as the Mavs lose to the Pacers 😔pic.twitter.com/ZwQdqXShU2
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 1, 2023
Afterward, Doncic stepped up to the podium and addressed Irving taking that final shot.
He seemed to be in good spirits about the whole thing.
“It was a good shot,” Doncic said.
“It’s Kyrie. He can make a lot of those shots, and we trust him.”
Irving, for his part, took responsibility for the miss and said he felt like he wasn’t playing with his usual fluidity.
In his estimation, he has been feeling the pressure in Dallas a little too much.
“I just appreciate the coaching staff and my teammates trusting me with that shot and just the comfort they gave me afterwards,” Irving said.
“Really want to win here, really put a lot of pressure on myself at times. I think I need to scale it back a little bit, just because the second half of the season, just feeling like we’ve got to be great every single possession, and usually these learning curves or learning moments happen in preseason, and it’s happening now.
“So it definitely puts a glaring eye on what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong. Easy to criticize, but for us, I’ve just got to focus on being the best that I can be and showing up for not only Luka, but for my teammates.”
Irving finished the night with 16 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds. Doncic, meanwhile, had 39 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/B0Ipt9edU0
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 1, 2023
Understandably, many wondered why Doncic wasn’t the one to take that final shot – especially given that he just looked like a pedestrian under the basketball while Irving launched up his prayer.
But it is also worth noting, this is what the Mavericks brought Irving in to do. Take the pressure off Doncic in this capacity. He just needs to make his shots.
Thus far, the Kyrie Irving Era hasn’t led to Doncic looking any better or winning any more than he did prior to it. Will that change at some point in the foreseeable future? Time will tell.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.