The Dallas Mavericks have a Kyrie Irving problem

Dallas Mavericks, Kyrie Irving
Dallas Mavericks, Kyrie Irving / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks have found themselves in a precarious spot in the 2024 NBA Finals, down 2-0, with the series heading to Dallas for the next contests. Perhaps if the first two meetings had been closer, there would be more optimism from the Mavs' side heading into an all-important Game 3.

After losing the series opener 107-89, where the team had more duds than studs, Dallas succumbed to the Boston Celtics 105-98 in the second matchup. If it weren't for a 9-2 run in the final 3:17 of the fourth quarter, the Mavs would have probably lost by double-digits again.

Of course, this is no time to panic. However, Kenny Smith's grim outlook for Dallas because of Boston having too much star power has proven prophetic so far.

The Dallas Mavericks have a Kyrie Irving problem

Luka Doncic has done everything he can for his team despite nursing a new injury on top of the knee sprain and ankle soreness he has already been dealing with in the playoffs. He is just the sixth player in NBA history to post 30 points each in his first two Finals appearances. And in Game 2, he became the youngest player ever to record a 30-point triple-double in the league's grandest stage.

Unfortunately, the Slovenian superstar has not gotten enough help from his supporting cast, particularly Kyrie Irving.

The former Cleveland Cavaliers champion, who is in his fourth NBA Finals, was supposed to be the Mavs' equalizer versus an opponent that has five or six players who can pop off offensively on any given night. But he has struggled mightily, averaging just 14.0 points per contest on 35.1 percent shooting in Games 1 and 2.

This isn't the first time Irving has not given Doncic the needed support on offense in these playoffs. He also had a subpar performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference semifinals. However, their other teammates stepped up in that series. The Celtics are evidently a different beast, and the eight-time All-Star has to find out how to fare better against his former team, to whom he has now lost 12 consecutive times.

Perhaps the change of scenery will help Irving play better. The Boston crowd has been rough on him, and he may have made the mistake of stirring the pot after Game 1 by saying he thought the Celtics fans were going to be louder.

The 32-year-old ball wizard also inexplicably egged the crowd on and figured in verbal altercations with some fans on Sunday despite the Mavs being down late in the match. Poking the bear in such a crucial situation may not have been the best idea, but you have to hand it to Irving for being daring.

With Dallas hosting Game 3, he should expect a lot more cheers than jeers. The Mavs will definitely need all the support they can get to overcome a 2-0 deficit and win the championship. Only five teams have achieved the feat, but the good news is that Irving was a part of one of them when the Cavs beat the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 Finals.

Irving has struggled tremendously in this series, but two games at home should be perfect to get him back on track.

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