Kyrie Irving reveals key for Mavericks to beat Clippers in Game 5

Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Four
Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Four / Tim Warner/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks missed an opportunity to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their first-round matchup with the LA Clippers after losing 116-111 on Sunday. Consequently, the team would need another road win to book a trip to the Western Conference semifinals.

Game 4 could have been in the bag for Dallas, but Jason Kidd fielding a questionable closing lineup didn't work well for the squad. Moreover, it dug itself a massive hole by starting slow and trailing as many as 31 points in the first half.

The Mavs rallied and gradually closed the gap, thanks largely to Kyrie Irving's offensive brilliance late in the contest. Unfortunately, they ran out of gas, while Paul George and James Harden showed nerves of steel in crunch time.

Kyrie Irving reveals key for Mavericks to beat Clippers in Game 5

Evidently, Dallas has to start strong and avoid having to play catch-up with an opponent who has star players who can get hot anytime. 

Irving also admitted as much in his postgame presser after Game 4, saying that he should've put his imprint on the contest much earlier, which he would likely look to do on Wednesday at Arena.

While the star guard finished the evening with a game-high 40 points on Sunday, he appeared to play too passively in the early going. He went scoreless in the opening period as the Mavs fell behind 39-16.

In the second quarter, Irving went supernova with 16 points on a 5-for-5 shooting clip. The second half saw him tally 24 more to miss out on his playoff career-high by just two points. 

However, an inefficient Luka Doncic, who acknowledged on Sunday that he let his partner down, couldn't provide the necessary offensive support. While the Slovenian phenom had a 29-point triple-double, he struggled from the field and attempted just four shots in the fourth quarter.

Hopefully, Irving can get going off the bat in the next meeting to give Dallas a better chance of securing the road victory. Fortunately for the Mavs organization and its fans, the former champ has historically shown the ability to step it up in Game 5s.

Considering that Doncic is dealing with a nagging injury, which Kidd had offered a cloudy update on before the Sunday matchup, Irving might actually have to carry a bigger offensive load against the Clippers for the remainder of the series.

It remains to be seen if the eight-time All-Star is up to the task.

For more on Kyrie Irving, Luka Doncic, Jason Kidd, and the Dallas Mavericks, stay tuned.