Dallas Mavericks look impressive in Kyrie Irving’s debut

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kyrie Irving effect was in full swing last night as the Dallas Mavericks were able to outlast the Clippers 110-104 in Irving’s debut with Dallas.

The Dallas Mavericks jumped out the gates early and had as much as a 19-point lead in the 1st half before LA came back.

The Clippers defensive strategy was to take advantage of Luka’s absence by focusing on Kyrie, double teaming him and smothering him when he had the ball, opening up other Mavs for more offensive opportunities.

Most of the 1st half had Kyrie playing off the ball, allowing Reggie Bullock to have a big 1st quarter starting off the game 5 of 5 from 3-point. Offensively, the whole Mavs roster was extremely efficient in the 1st quarter, outscoring the Clippers 41-25 without recording a single turnover.

Things got sloppy for the Dallas Mavericks very quickly in the 2nd quarter and lasted most of the 2nd half, finishing with 18 turnovers as a team. But the Clippers struggled to capitalize, only recording 13 points off those Mavs’ turnovers.

Overall, Kyrie was able to put together a pretty impressive debut, scoring 24 points with 5 assists and shooting 52%. When it looked as if Dallas was going to give up the lead late, a couple of times actually, other Mavs were able to make plays.

Josh Green got to start in place of Luka, scoring 14 points in another solid performance after scoring 29 against Utah. Theo Pinson was a big surprise off the bench with 9 points in 15 minutes and had a couple of key defensive plays.

It was an impressive win against one of the better teams in the west moving the Mavs into the 4th seed, for now, in a jumbled up mess that is the western conference standings. Dallas sits just two games out of the 3 spot while only being up three games up on the 11 seed.

There is a lot to unpack for this new look Mavs team but with all the excitement there are still many questions on how this team will look when fully healthy. We still haven’t seen Luka and Kyrie play together. Kyrie’s off the ball play last night shows promise that there may be a lot of greatness to come playing alongside Luka.

Luka could make his return Friday night against the Kings in the first game of a back-to-back for both the Mavs and Kings. Luka has missed the last three games after suffering a heel injury against New Orleans on February 2nd.