4 Struggling Mavericks who must step up to take down the Thunder

Dallas Mavericks, Kyrie Irving, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Kyrie Irving, Luka Doncic / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Kyrie Irving

In Game 4 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving had just nine points while shooting 4-11 from the field and 1-2 from the free-throw line. Irving did dish out nine assists in this game, but nine points from one of your superstars in a playoff game is unacceptable.

The Mavs are in win-or-go-home territory right now, and the Mavs couldn't buy a bucket down the stretch of Game 4. Irving is typically someone who the Mavs rely heavily upon in the clutch, but just like his teammates, he couldn't get anything going.

Irving's nine-point game in Game 4 was his second nine-point game of this series, and the Mavs must demand more from him. Tim Hardaway Sr., the father of Tim Hardaway Jr., said that he thinks that Irving is deferring to Luka Doncic too much, and although Irving is getting double-teamed consistently, he must put an emphasis on getting involved early.

Irving is someone who usually feels the game out for the first quarter or two before putting the pedal to the metal and taking over the game, but he has to be aggressive from the opening tip to the final buzzer.

Irving is one of the greatest and most skilled guards to play the game, and he has to leave his mark on this series. All-time greats don't disappear when their team needs them most, and Game 5 will be telling of how he responds to this moment of adversity.