How Maxi Kleber and Kyrie Irving saved the Mavericks season in win over Lakers
Kyrie Irving gives the ball up in the clutch to help Dallas Mavericks defeat Lakers
Irving is the best fourth-quarter scorer in the league, and he had another 13 points on five of eight shooting on Friday night. The eight-time All-Star had the hot hand, and the Lakers knew he could defeat them. Dallas scored 22 points in the final period on six of 15 shooting from the field or nine points on one of eight from players not named Kyrie.
It would have been easy for Irving to try to force things down the stretch. He had the hot hand, and everyone knows Kyrie can make every shot. The eight-time All-Star has beaten plenty of double teams, but on the two most important plays of the team’s season, Irving passed the ball to the open teammate. Dallas was rewarded with a comeback win, and Kleber gave credit to his new teammate for trusting him with the game on the line.
Nobody would have faulted Kyrie for taking a step-back 3-pointer on the final shot. Yes, he was covered, but fans have seen Luka Doncic drill that shot from the opposite wing plenty. Instead, Kyrie made the right play.
Irving gave the ball up in the clutch plenty. He only took one field goal attempt in the final five minutes and made two free throws. Head coach Jason Kidd went with Reggie Bullock, Christian Wood, and Tim Hardaway Jr. flanking Kyrie and Maxi in the clutch. THJ and Wood each took two field goals and Maxi had just one, but made five of six free throws.
Kyrie Irving showing that trust in his teammates after just 12 games with the Dallas Mavericks was massive, and it resulted in the biggest win of the season.
The Dallas Mavericks have 11 games left in the regular season, and they need every win to avoid the Play-In Tournament. Dallas is hoping Luka Doncic can return in the team’s next game on Monday night in Memphis, and they can use this win as a springboard for a run down the stretch. Do not miss a second of the action because there will be fireworks.