Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have found much more success in the sequel as the Dallas Mavericks advance to the Western Conference finals

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Luka Doncic celebrates the basket

With a grin on his face, Luka Doncic joined Kyrie Irving to discuss the Dallas Mavericks making it to the Western Conference finals once again, marking their second appearance in three seasons.

Irving missed the previous run that ended in a defeat against Golden State two years ago. It’s been seven years since Irving reached this deep in the playoffs, back when he played alongside LeBron James in Cleveland.

In the locker room, Irving couldn’t help but reflect on the journey, considering all the ups and downs, especially since his time with James.

“I found myself giving an unexpected speech, trying hard to hold back tears because it feels like it’s been a long journey to get back to this point,” Irving expressed after Dallas defeated Oklahoma City 117-116 in Game 6 on Saturday night.

“Looking back, I realize there were times in my career when I took things for granted, like reaching the conference finals three years in a row. Then, not being able to get back for a while can weigh heavily on you as a competitor. That’s what made the celebration feel even more special,” Irving added.

It wasn’t just about reaching the conference finals; LeBron James and Kyrie Irving made it to three consecutive NBA Finals together. They won once and lost twice before Irving was traded to Boston.

Kyrie Irving reacts while playing the game

In Irving’s first season with the Celtics in 2018, they reached the East finals, but he couldn’t play due to a knee injury during the entire postseason.

His partnership with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn didn’t go as planned for various reasons, leading to a trade request that brought Irving to Dallas.

The recent series win against the Thunder wasn’t solely about Irving’s offensive prowess. Instead, the scoring-focused guard showcased exceptional defense, according to coach Jason Kidd, who described it as Irving’s best defensive performance in any postseason.

While Irving made key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter of the decisive game against the Thunder, his contributions went beyond scoring. He served as the team’s glue, keeping everyone united and positive throughout the series.

Kidd emphasized Irving’s crucial role, noting that despite the challenges, Irving’s leadership and resilience made the journey rewarding for him and his teammates.

Last year’s initial months for the Doncic-Irving duo were disappointing, despite their combined 13 All-Star appearances.

Luka Doncic celebates after winning the match

Dallas also struggled, choosing to tank towards the end of the season to secure a draft pick, even though they still had a slim chance of making the play-in tournament.

Their strategy paid off, securing center Dereck Lively II in the draft, who made a significant impact as a rookie. However, the team didn’t feel complete, sitting just three games above .500 after a loss to Milwaukee in February, where they squandered a 25-point lead.

Fortunately, their efforts around the trade deadline proved fruitful. Acquiring P.J. Washington Jr. and Daniel Gafford bolstered the team’s performance on both offense and defense.

With these additions, the Mavericks finished the season strong, winning 24 out of 33 games and climbing to fifth place in the West. They also eliminated the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round, following a similar pattern of wins and losses as in their series against Oklahoma City.

Reflecting on their progress, Luka Doncic emphasized the team’s potential for further growth, attributing it to significant trades and adjustments made along the way.

During his previous deep playoff run two years ago, Doncic didn’t have a teammate with Irving’s extensive playoff experience.

Luka Doncic celebrates with Kyrie Irving

The 25-year-old star remains the main attraction, and the Mavericks will once again have to play away from home for the third series in a row this playoffs.

This was the case in the second round of 2022, where Dallas surprised everyone with a dominant win over Phoenix in Game 7. However, they couldn’t pose much of a challenge against the Warriors.

Now, the focus shifts to how Irving’s addition will impact their upcoming series against the winner of the Denver-Minnesota matchup, which starts Wednesday. The Nuggets and Timberwolves are set to face off in Game 7 on Sunday.

For Irving, who is 32 years old, it’s more about what having Doncic, with his impressive playoff stats averaging 31 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 8.2 assists, means for him personally in the postseason.

“We all know his talent and his stats, but for me, it’s about being a supportive teammate and helping him grow both on and off the court,” Irving said. “I want to assist him in achieving his goals, and I know he feels the same way about me.”

With their second playoff series win under their belt, Doncic looked visibly pleased sitting alongside Irving.


By Brian Anderson

Hi myself Brian, I am a second-year student at Symbiosis Centre of Management Studies, Noida, pursuing a BBA degree. I am a multi-faceted individual with a passion for various hobbies, including cricket, football, music, and sketching. Beyond my hobbies, I possess a keen interest in literature, particularly fictional books, and channels my creativity into content writing. I am constantly exploring the realms of both business administration and the world of imagination through my diverse pursuits.

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