At what may be the most crucial point in the Dallas Mavericks‘ season, the team lost two-straight games to the lowly Charlotte Hornets. Dallas now sits a half game behind the 10th place Oklahoma City Thunder for the final Western Conference playoff spot.
Sunday’s crushing defeat also marked the second consecutive game where Kyrie Irving failed to crack 20 points for the Mavs. He scored just 18 points in the each leg of the home-and-home against the Hornets.
After the second loss, Irving said that Dallas needs to be more desperate in these games down the stretch.
“It’s definitely making or missing shots, but like I said, kind of like a week ago, just trying my best to manage this [foot injury] and there’s a lot of desperation basketball that needs to be played down the stretch, especially where we are in the season and also in the standings,” he said via Sports Illustrated’s Grant Afseth.
The 31-year-old then dove a bit deeper into how the injury has affected his play.
“I would love to just be one hundred percent healthy and just being able to just play and flow in the game. But, I’m out there, so there’s no excuses. I just got to strap up my bootstraps and beat everything that I can for my teammates and coaching staff.”
He closed by urging his team to move on to the next game and continue trying to grow.
“I don’t want to get too cliche here, but just gotta keep on moving forward and keep on progressing. Chop wood, carry water — same thing.”
Kyrie Irving Fires Off Rant After Mavs Fall to Hornets
Irving’s tone after Sunday’s loss was a bit different than it was on Friday.
After Dallas’ first loss to Charlotte, Irving ranted to reporters that he was sick of the focus consistently being on him and Luka Doncic. He explained that it should be on the team as a whole.
“I mean, not really. I didn’t imagine [this],” Irving said via the Fanatics View YouTube channel. “I expect to win every ball game that I play. So, that’s the attitude I go on with. But the reality is what it in. We are 3-7. But again, it’s a team basketball game. As much as people want to put it on me and Luka, it’s a team basketball game, and we talk about that in a locker room. Everyone loves to point fingers at what we’re doing, but it’s a team-aspect game. And I feel like when we focus on our team aspect, that’s when we get clear answers. But when we focus on two guys and what our numbers are and whether we can play better, it limits all the other guys and their capabilities in that locker room, and I don’t want to do that. I believe in each one of those guys. And when I was coming here, I knew that giving up Dorian Finney-Smith or giving up Spencer [Dinwiddie], that was gonna be a change to any lineup that they had going o. Different minutes. Guys get in and out of the lineup. I haven’t necessarily been as healthy as I would like to be at this point in the season. Other guys haven’t been as healthy. e and Luka as well, more importantly. But again, there’s no time for excuses. We just got to lace them up and get ready.”
Luka Doncic Sounds Off on Frustration After Mavs Lose to Hornets
Irving wasn’t the only member of the Mavericks’ back court to send a strong message Friday. Doncic also had plenty to say, indicating that he hasn’t been having as much fun playing as of late.
“It’s really frustrating,” Doncic said Friday via the Fanatics YouTube channel. “I think you can see it with me on the court. Sometimes, I don’t feel it’s me. Just being out there. I used to have [a lot of] fun. Smiling on the court. But it’s just been so frustrating. For a lot of reasons, not just basketball.”