Kyrie Irving gives perfect advice to Dereck Lively II during pivotal moment

Dallas Mavericks, Kyrie Irving, Dereck Lively II
Dallas Mavericks, Kyrie Irving, Dereck Lively II / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, The Dallas Mavericks played Game 3 against the Oklahoma City Thunder and were looking to take a 2-1 series lead after defeating the Thunder 119-110 in Game 2. In a faceoff between two desperate heavyweight teams, each were looking to take a series lead over one another.

After battling for 48 straight minutes, the Mavericks overcame a young Thunder squad with a 105-101 gutsy win. Mavericks forward, P.J. Washington led the team in scoring after making multiple plays at the rim and from behind the arc to keep the Mavericks' momentum alive. Washington finished the night off with 27 points and five made 3-pointers.

Washington and Kyrie Irving's effort in a series-defining Game 3 won't go unnoticed, Irving capitalized on yet another second-half explosion to help lead the Mavericks to a 2-1 series lead. Irving has been a massive figure on and off the floor for Dallas all season and tonight may have been the biggest example of his leadership on the Mavs.

Kyrie Irving gives advice to Dereck Lively II while Thunder were intentionally fouling him

Late in the third quarter, the Thunder diverted to fouling Dereck Lively II anytime he was involved in an offensive set to pressure the young rookie and dare him to hit both of his free throws. After missing his first two free throw attempts, Irving told Lively II during a timeout to "Just let them foul you, accept it, take it as a compliment, and go up there and knock down your free throw."

After Irving's comments, Lively II proceeded to make four free throws in a row making Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault look like a fool for his bold decision. Lively II proved that as a rookie he can step up in the big moments and knock down timely free throws when they matter most. This likely wouldn't have been the case if it wasn't for Irving's encouraging comments, as Lively II was running away from Chet Holmgren at first to try to avoid getting fouled.

Irving has played a critical role for the Mavericks during this postseason, he's constantly motivated guys to play harder and faster which has resulted in multiple players coming alive for Dallas.

One player who has elevated his stock within the Mavericks rotation has been Tim Hardaway Jr. In tandem with Lively II, he and Hardaway Jr. have played critical roles off the bench for Games 2 and 3 of this second-round matchup.

Lively II will likely need another big performance in Game 4 if the Mavericks wish to take a 3-1 series lead over the Thunder, but with Irving in his corner, it will be hard for Lively II to get rattled no matter the moment.

Stay plugged in for more updates on Kyrie Irving, Dereck Lively II, and the Dallas Mavericks playoff series with the OKC Thunder.