3 Studs, 2 duds from Mavericks' narrow Game 4 loss to Timberwolves

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, P.J. Washington
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, P.J. Washington / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Dud - Kyrie Irving

Entering Game 4 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving was 14-0 in closeout games. He was 2-0 in this playoff run during closeout games, and he elevated his game in those moments when Dallas needed him most.

Dallas had the perfect chance to sweep the Timberwolves on Tuesday night and advance to the NBA Finals, but they couldn't get it done on their home floor. The Maavs started slow, and so did Irving.

Irving finished with 16 points while shooting 6-18 from the field and 1-6 from downtown, and he couldn't get anything to go in the clutch. He was getting some good looks from inside the arc around the rim as well as downtown, but nothing was going down.

Before Game 4, Irving stated that this was a normal game for the Mavs while it was the Timberwolves' "Super Bowl," and this aged poorly. The Mavs were showing no assertiveness in this game, and rather than leave his mark on this game from the opening tip, Irving played a bit passive as he scored just two points while shooting 1-5 from the field.

Irving typically feels out the game early and takes over in the second half, but the second-half takeover never happened as he scored just 10 points while shooting 4-10 from the field. His performance in the second half was better than his performance in the first half, but the Mavs will need a complete game from him in Game 5 to put the series away.