BOSTON — The Dallas Mavericks were defeated in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night, losing by a final score of 106-88. Dallas never found much of a rhythm and Boston ultimately clinched an NBA championship as a result. One of the primary storylines of the game, and throughout the series for that matter, was Kyrie Irving's struggles in Boston.

Irving played well at home for the most part. In three games in Boston, though, Irving failed to play up to his expectations. He is regarded as a player who performs well under pressure so his struggles were surprising to say the least.

“Basketball is a game of centimeters, man, sometimes inches, so when a ball is flying off your hands, sometimes it's going to feel good, sometimes it isn't,” Irving said after the game. “That's the maturity aspect. You got to move on to the next thing… Whether I'm playing well specifically scoring-wise or I'm not, there is a team aspect here that we're becoming more gelled into or dialed into. I can score 25 points, but if I don't, we got to be able to pick each other up, and I think that's what we're learning about each other now, where they're going to be games where the shooting is not going to go well particularly for me or someone else on the team.

“And that's where we have to galvanize as a group and other players make plays and opportunities created for one another. I've been at the point of attack through most of my drives going against the Celtics one-on-one or coming off screens. So that's what the summer is for, is just continuing to work on those things that I saw this year, the physicality, being able to adjust to it and by next year be in a better position.”

Irving is one of the best players in the NBA. But there is no denying the fact that he did not rise up to the occasion when his team needed him on the road.

Mavericks have Kyrie Irving's back despite struggles in Boston

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics guard Jrue Holiday (left) and center Al Horford (right) during the second quarter in game five of the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden.
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The Mavs were ultimately defeated in the 2024 NBA Finals 4-1. In all reality, the entire team could have played better. The series loss is not all on Irving.

The Mavs made it clear that they have Irving's back after the loss.

“Kyrie does a great job and he's done a great job from the moment he's got here of being a leader and being someone for younger guys, but also for everyone on the team,” Josh Green said. “So, I mean, obviously it is what it is. The crowds can chant whatever they want to chant. When we're away, they're obviously going to go against us. He does a great job of not letting it affect him and I think that goes back to his leadership on and off the court.

“So we have nothing but respect for Kyrie and we're not expecting the Celtics to be with us. We're opposing them. So whatever they say is whatever they say. But we all got his back, for sure.”

Dallas will have the offseason to regroup and bounce back. They feature an intriguing core of players. It would not be surprising by any means to see the Mavs return to the NBA Finals in 2025.

The series loss is frustrating for the team, though. They surely felt as if they could have challenged the Celtics more than they did. It should serve as motivation moving forward.

Kyrie Irving will especially have motivation following his struggles against the Celtics in Boston.