How Maxi Kleber and Kyrie Irving saved the Mavericks season in win over Lakers

Dallas Mavericks, Kyrie Irving, Maxi Kleber
Dallas Mavericks, Kyrie Irving, Maxi Kleber / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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Kyrie Irving makes all the right plays as Dallas Mavericks defeat Lakers

Irving missed three games with a sore right foot before returning to play on Friday night. Fans did not know what to expect from the eight-time All-Star, but everybody in the arena knew both teams needed the win. The loser's chances of climbing out of the Play-In Tournament were virtually gone with 11 games remaining in the season.

Kyrie could have played hero ball, especially since the Mavericks struggled mightily in the three games he missed. The 30-year-old did not. He made all the right plays on Friday night on his way to 38 points, six rebounds, and six assists in 39 minutes of action. Kyrie shot 14 of 23 from the field, including making five 3-pointers and going a perfect five of five from the foul line. He had just two turnovers, and Dallas had an 11-point edge in the 39 minutes Kyrie played on March 17.

Irving’s addition has been met with some criticism, but the eight-time All-Star silenced the doubters in the team’s biggest game of the year. He has helped the team improve their pace and get a few easy buckets in transition, along with adding another devastating offensive weapon. He showcased his entire skill set on March 17, including helping Dallas navigate a comeback win on the road with the pressure of the season on the line.