Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving knows the Oklahoma City Thunder pose problems to a lot of teams in the NBA. Irving is showing his respect for Chet Holmgren and the Thunder ahead of a Saturday night matchup between the two teams, per Landon Buford.
Mavs’ Kyrie Irving speaks on frustrating Thunder’s @ChetHolmgren before Saturday’s match up:
“They are a good team they have shown it. Night in and night out I know their record is what it is, but they are going to be a team to be reckon w in the Western Conference.”
— Landon Buford (@LandonBuford) December 2, 2023
The Mavericks are coming off of a tough 108-94 loss to the struggling Memphis Grizzlies. The team's defense struggled through most of the game, outscoring Memphis in only the third quarter. Dallas will have to be better than that Saturday in order to beat Oklahoma City, who is 12-6 on the season. Dallas enters the game at 11-7.
Kyrie Irving is one of the key pieces to get Dallas going. The veteran guard is averaging nearly 24 points a game, but was held far below his scoring average in the team's loss to Memphis. Irving only got 10 points in the team's loss. The team is also dealing with some other issues, as Luka Doncic is celebrating the birth of a newborn and Tim Hardaway Jr. is battling an injury.
Irving is having his own struggles with injuries, as a nagging foot problem has caused some frustrations for the veteran guard. Irving was in and out of the Grizzlies game due to the issue. It's clear that Dallas just isn't the same team without Irving in the game, and for the team to defeat Oklahoma City Irving will have to be on the floor scoring points consistently.
Oklahoma City is coming off of a 133-110 win over the L.A. Lakers, after having lost two games before that. Oklahoma City is finding success with Chet Holmgren, who is averaging nearly 18 points a game in his first full NBA season, after suffering an injury last year. Holmgren is clearly playing with energy and passion, and Dallas will have to meet that intensity to win Saturday's game.
Dallas and Oklahoma City tip off at 9 Eastern Saturday.