Kyrie Irving no longer overthinking as he shows potential in Mavericks win over 76ers
Having two dominant superstars leading your team can be a challenge. Landing one of them at the trade deadline and having him adjust to the playstyle and culture of their new team can be even more of a challenge. This is the situation that the Dallas Mavericks are facing with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.
The Mavericks aquired Irving just before the trade deadline and struggled closing out and winning games with their two superstars lately. Dallas is 4-4 in games that Irving has played in, but two of those wins came without Doncic. Kyrie got to lead the team on his own in those two wins and didn't have to worry about having another superstar on the floor with him.
But now that Doncic is back from injury, the two had to figure out how to make it work, and in Thursday's win over the 76ers, they showed just how good this team can be when both Irving and Doncic are playing together at a high level.
Kyrie Irving no longer overthinking, conveys how good he can be for Dallas Mavericks in win over 76ers
Before the game, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers touched on just how tough it can be to add in a superstar at the trade deadline and one quote from Rivers stuck out in particular.
"You got to take your time with it."
This quote alone defines the beginning of Irving's time in Dallas and how it wasn't going to be an immediate smooth fit alongside Doncic. The duo lost four of their first five games together and had some early rough patches of figuring out how to play with each other.
In the most recent losses to the Lakers and Pacers, it appeared that Irving may have been overthinking and not letting the game come to him. He shot a combined 2-14 from downtown in these games and didn't seem to be playing the way he can when he's at his best.
Irving's press conference after the game against the Pacers confirmed this.
"As much as I would love to play well, it doesn't happen as often as you would like. But I think moving forward, when I can ease my own burdens or overthinking, I think things will naturally flow."
Letting "things naturally flow" is precisely what Irving did in the win against the 76ers. He was playing off of Doncic, shredding the 76ers' defense on drives and drilling threes with confidence. Irving finished with 40 points, six assists, and three steals. He dominated down the stretch and his level of play increased to another level once the fourth quarter hit.
He was a perfect 2-2 from downtown, 3-3 from the free-throw line and scored 11 points in the final stanza. If Irving can keep this level of play in the fourth quarter up, the Mavericks will have two closers on their team.
Irving's next chance to put on a show and put the overthinking aside will be on Sunday afternoon against the Phoenix Suns at the American Airlines Center.