Luka Doncic is letting Kyrie Irving and the Mavericks down and knows it

Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Four
Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Four / Tim Warner/GettyImages

On Sunday afternoon, the Dallas Mavericks entered their Game 4 matchup against the LA Clippers with a 2-1 series lead after an intense win on Friday night.

The Mavs had the chance to take a 3-1 series lead on their home court, but they fell short as they lost 116-111 in the craziest game of the series. Kyrie Irving dropped 40 points in this game while shooting 14-25 from the field and 6-12 from downtown, and he willed the Mavericks to come all the way back and take a lead after trailing by 31 points in the first half.

Irving continues to show that he can turn it on at any time and he has been phenomenal in the playoffs, but the same can't be said about his co-star Luka Doncic. Doncic is shooting 38.6 percent from the field and 26.5 percent from downtown, and his performance in Game 4 was rough when evaluating this game by Doncic's standards regardless of what the numbers say.

Luka Doncic is letting Kyrie Irving and the Mavericks down and knows it

Despite dropping a 29-point triple-double on Sunday, he was clearly not himself. Doncic shot 10-24 from the field and 1-9 from downtown in the loss, and his inefficiency hurt the team. He clearly wasn't as comfortable with the nagging knee injury that made him questionable to play in this game, and his defense in this game was poor.

Doncic was seemingly constantly getting blown by on defense in this game and his knee injury looked like it was hindering him from moving well laterally. After the game, he said that his knee was bothering him, but didn't use that as an excuse.

Doncic knows that the team needs to be better to win this series, but he also knows that he needs to be better.

"I just got to help him more," Doncic said about Irving after the game. "I feel like I’m letting him down, so I got to be there, I got to help him more."

Doncic taking accountability in this moment is a huge sign of maturity for him, and not many players can admit when they're struggling. He knows that he has to take his game to the next level in the next few games for the Mavs to advance to the second round, and these next two days of rest ahead of Game 5 will be crucial for him.

Doncic has to get back to playing the defense that he was playing earlier in this series, and there are plenty of reasons for Mavs fans to be optimistic going into Game 5. The Mavs are tough to beat when Doncic is locked in defensively, and Game 5 could be telling of the Mavs' fate.

In Game 4 on Sunday, the Clippers had an unbelievable shooting night from downtown as they shot 18-29 (62.1 percent) and the Mavs still only lost by five points. This game felt eerily similar to Dallas' Game 1 loss, and the Mavs have to find a way to start faster.

Doncic and Irving have to get back to playing together and both starting the game aggressively, and Irving showed confidence that the Mavs would be ready to go on Wednesday.

For all the latest on Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and the Dallas Mavericks throughout the 2024 NBA Playoffs, stay plugged in.