The prophecy from a few seasons ago has come trye. Around this time last year, Kyrie Irving and the Dallas Mavericks were wallowing in despair. After a midseason trade sent Irving to Texas, many expected him and Luka Doncic to find success in the postseason. However, a crushing late-season collapse not only ended their season, but also sparked questions about whether the duo could coexist.

Well, Irving and Doncic are proving that not only can they coexist, but they can carry their team to a deep playoff run. The Mavericks overcame a young and spirited Oklahoma City Thunder team in the second round of the playoffs to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

After the game, Irving was visibly emotional. In the post-game interview, it was revealed that the Mavericks' locker room asked Irving to make an impromptu speech. The star point guard also shared his thoughts on the Mavericks' tough series, per ESPN.

“I was trying to hold back to emotions just because of how hard and tough this series was. I think we really got to appreciate each other's talents and skill sets and, most importantly, our (Mavericks) will. Got a lot of guys that love to compete, a lot of guys that want to see each other do well and are willing to sacrifice and do the little things in order to get wins. So, I think we're continuing to prove that. Obviously, the job's not finished, but feels good to be in the conference finals.”

Despite being the underdogs, the Mavericks outwitted the Thunder by using their veteran experience. Irving, in particular, was the one that the team looked at for playoff experience. The star made sure to keep his streak of winning closeout games alive by taking over in the second half. With the Thunder defense clamping down on Luka, Irving's ability to create became crucial for Dallas.

Mavericks' playoff run

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts after the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in game six of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks were largely overshadowed by the Thunder, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference playoff race. Still, many viewed them as dark horse candidates to win the championship due to their play. With a full offseason to practice together, Dallas figured out a way for both Doncic and Irving to coexist and be a better team.

That mostly meant Irving taking a backseat to Doncic for the most part. While Irving's pedigree is well-known, Doncic has simply been on another level. The point guard's willingness to play off the ball has been critical for the Mavericks. That being said… that doesn't mean that Irving has shied away from taking the spotlight every now and then. When Dallas is in a pinch, or if Luka is having a bad, they always turn to Irving.

Irving is currently averaging around 21 points per game on around 48% shooting from deep and 44% (!!) from the outside. The Mavericks will now await the winner of Game 7 between the Denver Nuggets and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Once again, the Mavs will be the underdogs in the series. And once again, Dallas is looking to play spoiler once again.