Well, the first game of Kyrie Irving’s tenure with the Dallas Mavericks was a success. The controversial point guard ended his first game as the team’s leading scorer with 24 points, four rebounds, five assists, a block and a steal while shooting 9 of 17 from the field and 4 of 8 from beyond the arc.
More importantly, the performance came with a win over the Los Angeles Clippers, who they’ve now leapfrogged into fourth place in the Western Conference standings. This happened with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both taking part in the game, and Luka Doncic sitting out.
With the Western Conference being such an absurdly tight race, with three games separating fourth and twelfth place, an away victory like this will do wonders for the Mavericks’ morale. With Doncic coming back soon, likely in at least one of the Mavericks’ upcoming back-to-back games against the Sacramento Kings, Dallas will be trying to ride the wave and build on their current two-game winning streak.
Tim Hardaway Jr. had praise for his new teammate after the win, and it will now be interesting to see how Irving will co-exist with Doncic, as both players are used to high usage rates.
It’s not the first time Irving will have played with a ball-dominant co-star, considering his Finals runs with LeBron James, so it will be interesting to see how Jason Kidd plans to stagger their minutes to maximize the value that his new elite backcourt tandem brings to the team.
For now, things look rosy in Dallas. As we all know, things can change in a heartbeat when it comes to Irving. Let’s see what happens next. Irving said in a recent press engagement that he just wanted to go to a place where he’s celebrated, and this honestly might be his final chance to prove that he’s capable of focusing on using his immense talent on the court instead of constantly creating an environment of uncertainty in the locker room.