DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder have traded blows in their Western Conference Semifinals clash. Dallas leads the series 3-2 heading into Game 6, but Oklahoma City has certainly presented a challenge. Mavs star Kyrie Irving was asked to share his thoughts on the Thunder during shoot-around on Saturday before Game 6.

“I think just their resolve and also how they did it,” Irving told reporters. “You look back at their record, you look at how many minutes they clocked into together as a group. When you finally go against them in the semifinals in a playoff series you realize that they have a great young core. They're gonna be a team that's gonna challenge us for the next few years. Grateful we got the opportunity to be in this series. No matter what happens, I feel like I grew as a player going against them.”

The Thunder may be in trouble on Saturday, however. Kyrie Irving is undefeated in close-out games for his career. Kyrie was also asked about being 13-0 in close-out games.

“That record doesn't mean anything going into tonight,” Irving said. “We still gotta go out and play our game, do the little things. I'm grateful to have that part of my moment… Where I can look back and say that I had some special teams where we finished out the job.”

Kyrie Irving looking to lead Mavericks to series victory

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) makes a jump shot over Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half in game four of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Thunder will not go down quietly. Oklahoma City is going to play an aggressive brand of basketball with their season on the line.

Irving's ability to stay poised while leading the way will be important. He has not been his usual self from a scoring standpoint, but Irving is still a tremendous leader to have heading into this Game 6 affair.

Irving knows the Thunder will be ready to play on Saturday night.

“Their best shot,” Irving said in reference to what he's expecting from the Thunder in Game 6. “More than desperation. We know that this is their last chance to save their season. That's it right there… We kind of know what it is.”

So how can the Mavs take care of business? After all, winning close-out games is often quite challenging. Fortunately for the Mavericks, Kyrie Irving understands what it takes to get the job done.

“Just our poise most importantly,” Irving said. “Also just our approach and our mentality… AAC is going to be rocking but it's really about us making peace with those emotions that are gonna naturally come… Just playing our game. It's basketball at the end of the day. But close-out games, especially on your home floor, there's a little bit more added pressure.”

Kyrie Irving and the Mavs will be ready for Game 6.