In just two games played together, the narratives have already quickly surrounded the duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. Can they close out games together? Who should get the last shot?
These questions rapidly grew louder after Irving’s Maverick home debut. In a game that saw Minnesota with a 26-point lead in the third quarter, it’s rather impressive that this game went down to the final possession, but nevertheless it did.
With 14.8 seconds remaining, Dallas trailed by just three points. The Mavs struggled to inbound the ball no thanks to the defensive efforts of Jaden McDaniels, who deflected the ball into the backcourt. This deflection ran off valuable time which led to the ‘hot potato’ moment between Doncic and Irving in the final seconds.
In this instance, nobody got the last shot. While frustrating, we still need to consider the moment. Had the deflection been avoided, the play was drawn up for a quick two.
Hear me, they certainly should have gotten a shot up. But the best look they had in that possession was when Edwards left his feet – a shot by Irving that still would’ve been heavily contested by McDaniels.
So sure, if you want to be upset that a broken, improvised play didn’t work out in their second ever game together, then be my guest.
This is the first time in Irving’s career that he was traded in the middle of a season. “I wish we could have training camp together where you guys don’t see some of our mistakes. But we’re living it out in front of you guys… I’ve got to be flexible and adaptable”, Irving said.
As talented, to say the least, that these dynamic players are, there’s still going to be growing pains. This isn’t NBA 2k… they’ll need to gain familiarity with each other on the floor.
In other words, let’s not panic that this can’t and won’t work.
Coach Kidd also saw climbing out of a 26-point deficit as a reason not to worry about the defensive identity of the Mavericks. “We’re here to outscore people”, Kidd said.
While he’s not entirely wrong, the idea of Kleber returning to the rotation sooner rather than later would certainly provide a much needed boost on the defensive end. In theory, this will also open fast break opportunities for a team that now seems to play at an increased tempo with the addition of Irving.
I also believe Kidd has plans of bringing in additional defensive weapons looking forward to next year and years to come. We’ve got two perennial all-stars, now is the time to fit the pieces of the championship puzzle around them.
For now, let’s go outscore people I guess.
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