Kyrie Irving is feeling pressure: Should the Mavericks be feeling it too?
The Dallas Mavericks gave up 124 points in a loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday evening. Luka Doncic went off for 39 points on his 24th birthday, but it was not enough as Dallas allowed 106 points in the first three quarters. They made a comeback in the fourth, but the Mavericks slipped to 4-5 since the blockbuster trade for Kyrie Irving.
The Mavs' new superstar duo is still figuring things out. Fans have seen some inexplicable miscues as Dallas slipped to 1-4 when Luka and Kyrie both played. They had a chance to take the lead in the final seconds in three of those games, but the Mavericks could not convert, including Irving missing a game-winning 3-pointer against the Pacers.
Everyone expected the Mavericks to take a step forward if they traded for a second star, but there were warning signs before the deal went down. Dallas parted with their best defender in the trade, and they currently have a flawed roster. Irving admitted to feeling pressure postgame, but should the entire organization be feeling it after losing five of their last six games?
Kyrie Irving is feeling the pressure after the trade: Should the Mavericks be feeling it?
Irving was candid in his postgame press conference about the pressure he is feeling since arriving in Dallas.
"Really want to win here. Really put a lot of pressure on myself at times, and I think I need to scale it back a bit. Just because of this second half of the season. Just feeling like we got to be great every single possession. Usually, these learning moments happen in preseason, and they are just happening now, so it puts a glaring eye on what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong. Easy to criticize, but I just got to focus on being the best I can be and showing up, for not only Luka but for my teammates."
Kyrie noted that it is the natural pressure of wanting to play well, and he mentioned that his father told him to not overthink things and stay aggressive.
Irving wants to win, and the team’s lack of defense is adding pressure to every offensive possession. Dallas has to outscore teams to defeat them right now, but that is easier said than done. They must increase their defense if they want to qualify for the playoffs and make a run. Maxi Kleber’s return will help, but he is not going to save the entire team. Everybody must pitch in on the defensive end, including Luka and Kyrie.
The standings are adding to the pressure. Tuesday’s loss dropped the Mavericks to seventh in the Western Conference, and they are just two games from falling out of the top ten and missing the postseason. Every game is massive, which further magnifies the team’s mistakes.
It is a feeling-out process on the offensive end with a limited defensive roster. Kyrie Irving and the entire team must relax and just play basketball. There will be mistakes, but the Mavs cannot afford for those to lead to frustrations. That is when Dallas gets out of their element and loses the game.
The Dallas Mavericks are still figuring out the best way to play. Kyrie Irving likes to move off the ball, increase the tempo, and create some easy buckets for teammates. Luka Doncic prefers playing slow, breaking down the defense with isolations, and running a ton of pick and rolls. Head coach Jason Kidd must blend those two styles into what works best for the team. So far, the results have been mixed, but they have played just five games together.
The Mavs are running out of time. Can they avoid the pressure of the play-in tournament and figure out what works fast? They will be fascinating to watch down the stretch, so do not miss it.