The Dallas Mavericks have been struggling lately, but their luck changed on Friday night. Kyrie Irving returned to the lineup and immediately made a difference for Dallas, helping them pick up a win over the Los Angeles Lakers in dramatic fashion.
In the final moments of the game, down by two points, Irving got the ball and was immediately double-teamed. He made an insane pass to Maxi Kleber with time expiring, and the big man nailed the game-winner. After the game, Lakers star Anthony Davis spoke about Irving’s pass and Kleber’s crazy shot.
“With seven seconds, he [Irving] dribbled almost the whole clock out,” Davis said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “Me just reading him. Knowing that he’s probably going to take the last shot. He goes into his actual shooting motion and just comes down with it. He doesn’t shoot it. So, when he goes up [and] it kind of pulled me in. I was going for the rebound. Thought he was shooting it. He made a pass to Kleber. He makes the shot.”
Irving played an amazing game, and it was all highlighted by his great final possession. In his return to action after a three-game absence, Irving finished the night with 38 points, six rebounds, and six assists on 14-of-23 shooting from the field and 5-of-9 shooting from behind the three-point line.
Meanwhile, Kleber had a relatively quiet game up until he played hero in the final moments. The big man put up 10 points, four rebounds, and two assists on 2-of-4 shooting from the floor and 1-of-3 shooting from beyond the three-point arc.
Darvin Ham Sounds Off on Kyrie Irving
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham also spoke about the final possession after the game, discussing Irving’s line-drive pass to Kleber and the Lakers’ mentality on the play.
“I mean, he got pretty much a line-drive pass over to [Maxi] Kleber,” Ham said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “He started torching us a little bit down the stretch, thus, our decision to start blitzing him and double-teaming him. We made it difficult. Tried to be as active as possible. He found an open guy, and we didn’t get there fast enough. But AD had a last-minute, outstretched contest. But it’s tough. It’s like Indiana all over again. But at the end of the day, NBA players are highly talented. An elite skill level.”
He also said that the Lakers “weren’t disciplined enough.”
“But yeah, that makes it more of an emphasis on why you really have to control what you can control,” said Ham. “And I thought we weren’t disciplined at certain stages. We fouled. Had some really bad fouls. Fouling shooters. And also we did the job we wanted, [the job] we seek out to do every game, and that’s win the free-throw line. We got 31 attempts, but you got to make more than 19. We make our free throws, we’re probably not having this conversation.”
Josh Green Urged Mavericks to Step Up
After the Mavericks’ recent loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Josh Green urged the squad to step up even when Irving and Luka Doncic are out.
“I mean, it’s a lot different,” Green said of playing without Irving and Doncic via the Mavericks’ official YouTube channel. “Two of the best players in the world not on the court, you definitely feel that. But it’s up to us. We shouldn’t have to rely on them. We should be coming out there and giving them energy and showing that we have their back and that, when they’re back out there, they can trust us and that we can do stuff. So, for us, it’s about, whether they play or whether they don’t play, at the end of the day, we have one thing in mind, and that’s to win the game. So, obviously, the game plan changes without having them, but whether they’re in there or whether they’re out, from a player standpoint, we’re looking at just winning. So, obviously, stuff changes, but we still have one outcome.”