Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving is one of the most clutch players in the NBA.
Currently tied with Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal for 9th in total clutch points scored this season with 102, the eight-time All-Star’s ball-handling wizardry and feathery touch are routinely put on display in the NBA’s biggest moments.
However, winning is hard, especially when you and your teammates are trying to adjust to each other. Such has been the case for Irving and backcourt mate Luka Doncic, who has scored 125 clutch points this season, fourth in the league.
Following multiple games that slipped away from their fingers in the waning minutes, Irving and the Mavericks were able to conquer their demons as they defeated the Utah Jazz in a four-point victory on Tuesday night. This despite Kyrie and Luka being hounded by Jazz guards Talen Horton-Tucker and Kris Dunn.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Irving would credit the team’s ball-movement as what allowed them to pull the game out (h/t Grant Asfeth of Dallas Basketball).
Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving on taking over the game in the fourth quarter vs. Jazz:
“They were trying to get the ball out of me and Luka's hands. It felt like we did a great job tonight of trying to beat the trap and make their bigs have multiple plays they have to guard. I think… https://t.co/vu6e9x8tSN pic.twitter.com/HqFfB4AmVK
— Grant Afseth (@GrantAfseth) March 8, 2023
“They were trying to get the ball out of me and Luka’s hands,” Irving relays. “It felt like we did a great job tonight of trying to beat the trap and make their bigs have multiple plays they have to guard. I think we settled in in the second half where we started trusting the ball movement and the ball ended up finding some people where we hit some timely 3s that we didn’t hit in the first half.”
“It’s winning time really,” Irving says.
“The last few games have been really close, and we haven’t closed out as well as we would have liked. I haven’t closed out as well as I would have liked. Just putting a lot of pressure on myself….”