Tim McMahonESPN staff writer4 minutes to read
Dallas – again, the The Mavericks failed to finish with the pair of All-Stars on the floor together.
On this occasion, Kyrie Irving missed a contested 3-point step back on final possession for a 124-122 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. It was the fourth time in five matches that Irving alongside Luka Doncic had lost to the Mav, with all defeats coming by one possession — far from the boost Dallas hoped to get when they struck the big deal with the team. Brooklyn Nets acquire Irving.
Irving said after the loss that pushed Dallas to seventh place in the Western Conference standings: “I only appreciate the coaching staff and my colleagues who trusted me with this shot and the comfort they gave me after that.” “I really want to win here, and I put a lot of pressure on myself sometimes. I think I need to cut it back a little bit, just because the second half of the season, I just feel like we have to be great every single possession, and usually those learning curves or learning moments happen. In the pre-season, this is happening now.
“So he definitely has a stern eye on what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong. It’s easy to criticize him, but for us, I just have to focus on being the best I can be and being not just Luca, but my teammates.”
The loss marked Doncic’s 24th birthday, but he did not contest the play at the end of the game, when he watched from the corner as Irving sacked against Pacers guard TJ McConnell.
“It was a good shot,” said Doncic, who scored 39 points, nine rebounds and six assists in the loss. “It’s Kerry. He can do a lot of those shots, and we trust him.”
Irving averaged 24.7 points and 6.9 assists in seven games with the Mav, including a pair of wins that Doncic missed while recovering from a heel bruise immediately after the trade. But Irving hadn’t shot as well in Dallas’ previous two games, hitting 15-of-40 from the floor in home losses to the Los Angeles Lakers (when the Mavs blew a 27-point lead) and the Pacers.
Irving admitted he feels the pressure to perform after being involved in a high-profile trade and joining the Mavs as they battle for a playoff rating during the second half of the season.
said Irving, who had 16 points on 7-of-18 shooting and nine assists Tuesday night. “I mean, it’s natural. It comes with it. Also, as a human being, I naturally want to get along with everyone and not step on anyone’s toes.”
“But the scale of moments sometimes requires that special people go the extra mile and do the extra stuff. I’m in that place now, but I think I just need to scale back and let the game come to me and flow into it, because when we play with that tension, I can feel the intensity.” around me. I think I just have to settle down and stay in poise.”
Irving is used to playing alongside another superstar, something Doncic is seeing for the first time in the NBA. Irving won a title as a sidekick to LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers and joined the Nets as a free agency deal along with Kevin Durant.
The Maf hoped that pairing Irving with Doncic would give them a chance to compete for a championship, but Irving doesn’t think he’s held his end of the bargain just yet while playing for the NBA’s scoring leader.
“It’s a big job, baby,” Irving said. “It’s a big job. As much pressure as I put on myself, I have goals that I would like to achieve, but all of those goals have been pushed to the side because I know I have 15 other players on this team who are counting on me doing things that they either saw me do or they expected me to do as one of the The best players in the league. So, I sit next to Luca, I have to come to the party.
“I’ve been in situations in this league. Some have been failures, some have been successes, but over the past few years I’ve made it my goal to be mentally stronger, especially dealing with the rigors of this mentally, physically and emotionally. It will come. It will come.”
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