Kyrie Irving, known for his crucial shots in past NBA Finals and exceptional ball-handling skills, has faced challenges in the current series. In Sunday’s Game 2, Irving scored 16 points while struggling against Jrue Holiday’s defense, following a 12-point performance in Game 1. As a result, the Mavericks fell to the Celtics 105-98, despite Luka Doncic’s 32-point triple-double.

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Irving’s shooting woes, including 13-for-37 in the Finals, have significantly impacted the Mavericks. In contrast, the Celtics, with a balanced team effort, continue to thrive. Doncic and Irving are the primary scorers for Dallas, and when Irving underperforms, the team’s chances diminish.

 

Irving acknowledged his difficulties, stating, “A lot of shots were hitting the back rim. That could piss you off as a competitor, but it’s all part of the game of basketball. A little disappointed in myself not being able to convert a lot more on my opportunities that I have in the lane. Obviously, I’m going against Jrue Holiday and Jaylen Brown a few times, but I feel like I have the upper edge on certain possessions where I’ve just got to convert.”

Holiday’s defense has been a key factor in Irving’s struggles. The Celtics guard, often underrated despite his accolades, has effectively contained Irving in the first two games, scoring 26 points in Game 2.

 

The series now moves to Dallas, where Irving and the Mavericks must regroup. Coach Jason Kidd’s pre-game comments about Jaylen Brown being Boston’s best player added intrigue but did not alter the game’s outcome. The Celtics received significant contributions from Derrick White and Kristaps Porzingis, underscoring their depth.

 

Irving remains optimistic, saying, “Now we go home and shake off the cobwebs a bit and prepare for another fight.”