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Kyrie Irving Thriving In Dallas

Gary A. Vasquez / USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks put the NBA world on notice when they pulled the trigger on a blockbuster trade for eight-time All-Star point guard, Kyrie Irving

The Mavericks shipped a considerable package to the Brooklyn Nets to acquire Irving, consisting of Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and multiple draft picks. 

Performance Without Luka

The Mavericks coasted to two quality wins and posted record-setting numbers in Irving’s first two games despite the absence of franchise superstar Luka Dončić. The Mavs recorded their first forty-point first-quarters in consecutive games in franchise history. 

Irving, who is averaging 28.3 points, 7 assists and shooting 53% and 42.9% from the field and behind the arc with the Mavericks, expressed his excitement in regards to the new move and opportunity to play with the team. 

“This is the first time I’ve ever gotten traded during the middle of the season so this is new for me,” Irving said. “But I’m excited I’m here, we just gotta keep things rolling now.” 

Stepping Up

Irving has quickly become a fan favorite as a result of his stellar play in addition to a 26 point fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves. This was the Mavericks third highest scoring quarter in franchise history, in just Irving’s third game. 

Head coach Jason Kidd held high praise for his shorthanded roster without Dončić and discussed their ability to step up without his offensive production.  

“I think it’ll be good for us going forward,” Kidd stated. “The confidence to play without one of your stars, you never know with injury or foul trouble. Everyone is giving us something. We just gotta continue to keep playing the way we are.” 

Luka’s Return

José Luis Villegas / AP Photo

Dončić returned to the lineup after missing Irving’s first two games. The Mavericks are 0-2 since his return however, to the surprise of many. 

Irving and Dončić’s offensive production have been off the charts despite a winless start for the superstar tandem. The Mavericks have averaged 124.5 ppg on 51.4% shooting from the field over the last two games against two of the league’s best defensive teams in the Sacramento Kings (eight) and Timberwolves (eleventh). 

Concerns On Defense

The defensive ability of the team has quickly come into serious question. The Mavs have allowed an average of 128.5 ppg with Dončić and Irving on the floor through two games, which would rank dead last among all NBA teams. 

Kidd has not panicked, however, and stated he is not concerned with the initial defensive issues the newly adjusted roster is experiencing.

“We’re here to outscore people,” Kidd said confidently. “People come to see the points, not 80-80. We’re here to score. This is the new NBA. Interior defense, we’ll figure it out.”

Room For Optimism

Maxi Kleber has stated thankfully that he will be returning sometime this season. This should help bolster the Mavericks interior presence alongside JaVale McGee.

There is no limit to what the Mavericks can do offensively with their All-Star backcourt, but improvement on the defensive end needs to take place if the organization wants to become a legitimate championship contender.

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