Kyrie Irving Sounds Off on Mavericks’ Championship Hopes After Tough Win

Kyrie Irving of the Dallas Mavericks.

Getty Kyrie Irving of the Dallas Mavericks.

Kyrie Irving’s 17 fourth-quarter points helped propel the Dallas Mavericks to a 120-116 victory over the Utah Jazz on March 7. The victory marked Dallas’ second over the last three games. They and the Golden State Warriors are now tied for fifth place in the Western Conference, with records of 34-32.

While the Mavs are going to have to continue to jockey for playoff position, Irving hinted to the media that he believes that his team might be able to win the title this year.

“It’s coming together fast,” he said of Dallas’ team chemistry via Bally Sports Southwest. “And to be honest with you, I think our championship aspirations are really close. But honestly, we’ve got to take it one day at a time.”

Uncle Drew then cited the Mavericks’ consistency as an area where they can still improve.

“We just gotta build that consistency,” Irving said after the game. “I know the fans at home are just as antsy as we are to get this thing rolling.”

Our championship aspirations are CLOSE! – Kyrie Irving | NBA on ESPNKyrie Irving fields questions following the Dallas Mavericks' nail-biter with the Utah Jazz. (Courtesy: Mavericks/Bally Sports Southwest) ✔️ Subscribe to ESPN+ ✔️ Get the ESPN App: ✔️ Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: ✔️ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube: ✔️ Watch ESPN on YouTube TV:

Tim Hardaway Jr. Discusses Role After Mavs’ Kyrie Irving Trade

On top of Irving’s monster 33-point night, the Mavericks got some strong production from Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway Jr. poured in 24 points off the bench, knocking down 7 of his 9 attempts from the floor.

A few days prior, he had discussed how his role has changed since the Mavs traded for Irving.

“You’re not going to get that many plays run for you when you play with All-Stars and those type of caliber of guys. So you got to find ways to get yourself involved in the game, whether it’s rebounding, taking a charge, coming off a pick and roll, or get yourself a throw-ahead pass early in the shot clock, try to attack and make something happen,” Hardaway Jr. told Sports Illustrated’s Grant Afseth after Dallas’ 130-126 loss to the Phoenix Suns. “That’s just what I’ve been trying to do these last couple games, and I think it’s been working out great for us, not only myself but for C Wood [Christian Wood] and a lot of guys.”

The addition of the All-Star guard has seemingly opened things up a bit for Hardaway Jr. Both his points per game (15.5 compared to 13.8) and shooting splits (37.5/35.1 vs. 47.1/51.7) have jumped up since the trade.

Kevin Durant Discusses Playing Against Kyrie Irving and Mavs

Sunday’s loss to the Suns was the first time that the Mavericks faced off against Kevin Durant in his new threads.

There was plenty of excitement ahead of the game because of the matchup between Durant and his former Brooklyn Nets teammate Irving.

Neither player disappointed. KD scored a game-high 37 points, and Irving wasn’t far behind with 30 of his own.

After the game, Durant explained to reporters that the matchup with Kyrie was “just another game” for him.

“No emotions at all. It’s another game. Like I told somebody earlier, most of my career, I played against Kyrie,” he said via AZ Central’s Duane Rankin. So, he was on my team for the last couple of years, but the majority of my career I played against him, so I know how that feels. I just think that we both were locked in on the floor. We want to go out there and be the best that we can be. Sometimes you get distracted from hanging out, talking, and catching up on old times with your friends. So we were both locked in and I’m glad we got the W.”

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