Kyrie Irving reignites mysterious rivalry with Clippers star that fans will love

Apr 23, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) shoots the ball
Apr 23, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) shoots the ball / Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday night, the Dallas Mavericks went into Game 2 of the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs with something to prove.

Dallas lost to the LA Clippers in Game 1 following a disappointing performance by the Mavs' role players and a hot shooting night from LA, and the Mavs had to bounce back to gain some momentum before heading back to Dallas for Games 3 and 4.

The Mavs snagged a 96-93 win against the Clippers, and their defense looked much better than in Game 1.

Kyrie Irving reignites rivalry with James Harden

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving both buckled down on the defensive end, and Irving's defense on one of the Clippers star players could have reignited an age-old and mysterious rivalry that fans will love to see.

Irving has been playing fierce defense on former teammate James Harden in both games, and Harden clearly doesn't like Irving's physicality. Irving was frustrating Harden in both games, and Harden took exception to that by giving him a hard bump or pushing off to create separation.

Irving doesn't care if Harden was his former teammate, he is focused on winning a championship and Harden and the Clippers are standing in the way of that.

There was some drama between Irving and Harden during their time together playing for the Brooklyn Nets as Harden was reportedly frustrated by Irving's "part-time playing status" due to the vaccine mandates in New York. Since Irving didn't get the COVID-19 vaccine, he wasn't allowed to play in home games for some time.

This was something that clearly frustrated Harden as this put more pressure on him to perform better, and it made things worse considering that the trio barely played any games together. This superteam failing had to have been frustrating for both Harden and Irving, and this series could form a rivalry between the two of them as no one seems to know the full story of the two's relationship during the end of their tenure in Brooklyn.

It doesn't seem like there is any bad blood off the court anymore as both players have moved on, but Irving's airtight defense on Harden in both of the first two playoff games was clearly frustrating him. Irving was arguably the best defender on the floor for Dallas last night along with Doncic, and this battle with Harden is something to watch as the series progresses.

For all the latest on Kyrie Irving, Luka Doncic, and the Dallas Mavericks throughout their 2024 NBA Playoff run, stay tuned.