Theo Pinson passed the ball into Kyrie Irving, who pressured the Lakers defense into double-teaming him. Once L.A. collapsed, Irving dished a pass out to a wide-open Maxi Kleber, who sank the game-winning shot from behind the arc.
After his team’s heartbreaking loss, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham broke down the play that led to the dagger from Kleber.
“I mean, he got pretty much a line-drive pass over to Kleber,” Ham said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “He started torching us a little bit down the stretch, thus, our decision to start blitzing him and double-teaming him. We made it difficult. Tried to be as active as possible. He found an open guy, and we didn’t get there fast enough. But AD had a last-minute, outstretched contest. But it’s tough. It’s like Indiana all over again. But at the end of the day, NBA players are highly talented. An elite skill level.”
Kyrie Irving Speaks On Final Play in Mavs Win Over Lakers
While Kleber’s shot is ultimately what won the game for Dallas, Irving’s gravity, and ability to attract added attention from the defense was just as important.
The 30-year-old star later gave some insight to what he was thinking during the game-winning sequence.
“It seemed like three of them were around me at the end of the game,” Irving said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “But I’m just grateful that I was able to have my head on the swivel. I thought about, for a split second, forcing that two up to tie the basketball game. But I saw Maxi open. I saw AD [Anthony Davis] kind of helping a little too much. So, I tried to get it into his shot pocket, and I’m glad I got it to him with enough time to at least get the shot off. I could easily be sitting in this position with a loss. It was just that type of game. But I’m glad we were resilient. We got really lucky and fortunate at the end of regulation tonight, so I’m glad it worked out for us.”
Anthony Davis Shares Thoughts After Lakers Loss to Mavs
Lakers forward Anthony Davis also played a big part in the outcome of Friday’s matchup. He made three key mistakes in the final 10 seconds of play.
First he fouled Kleber behind the arc, gifting the forward three attempts from the charity stripe. The big German netted all three, bringing Dallas to within one point.
Seconds later, he converted just one of two of his own free throw attempts, leaving the Lakers up just two ahead of the final possession.
Lastly, Davis collapsed on Irving and left Kleber by himself with the game on the line.
The former No. 1 overall pick later discussed what had happened on the last play.
“With seven seconds, he [Irving] dribbled almost the whole clock out,” Davis said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “Me just reading him. Knowing that he’s probably going to take the last shot. He goes into his actual shooting motion and just comes down with it. He doesn’t shoot it. So, when he goes up [and] it kind of pulled me in. I was going for the rebound. Thought he was shooting it. He made a pass to Kleber. He makes the shot.”