Kyrie Irving is hoping to lead the Mavs to an NBA championship this season with Luka Doncic and company backing him up. Irving is perhaps best known for his game winning shot in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. What most fans don't realize is his playoff mastery leading up to that shot against the rival Detroit Pistons.
The Mavs are currently busy reshuffling their lineup both on the floor and on the bench in preparation for the fast approaching 2023 NBA season. The Mavs made a coaching decision that will surprise Doncic and his teammates. Mavs Head Coach Jason Kidd is thinking creatively about who start alongside Doncic and Irving according to a recent report.
The hope for Dallas moving forward is that the Mavs star Irving can recapture the magic that made him one of the NBA's best clutch players. Recently an Irving playoff victim, Stanley Johnson, formerly of the Detroit Pistons, shared his take on a seminal Kyrie playoff moment.
Irving hit a shot from a seemingly impossibly angle that quieted the crowd at the now-demolished Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan. According to Johnson, the Pistons had a great chance to win before Kyrie Irving went full playoff mode on his hapless young team. The rest, as they say, is history.
"[Kyrie Irving's] different… As good as LeBron was, that [2016 Pistons vs. Cavs] series in my opinion was won by Kyrie… He catches it tip-toeing and shoots it over the backboard… The whole f*cking Palace silent."
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) September 26, 2023
Irving's playoff averages are remarkably similar to his regular season averages, with both right above 23 points per game total. Irving averaged 22 points combined in two playoff runs with his previous team, the Brooklyn Nets, from 2020-2022.
If Irving and the Mavs can find a way to play off of Doncic and give him the support he needs on both ends of the court, a deep playoff run is possible for Kidd's Mavs this coming season. It won't be easy but with a healthy and well-adjusted Irving, the sky is the limit in 2023.