Kyrie Irving must answer the bell if Dallas Mavericks have any shot in NBA Finals

The balance of the NBA Finals could fall in the hands of Kyrie Irving.
2024 NBA Finals - Game Two
2024 NBA Finals - Game Two / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

If the Dallas Mavericks have any shot of bouncing back in the NBA Finals, Kyrie Irving must snap out of his recent slump.

Down 2-0 to the Boston Celtics after the first two games on the road, not all is lost for the Dallas Mavericks. However, their chances of winning an NBA Championship certainly aren't looking good. Through the first two games, the Celtics look better and much deeper than the Mavs.

Losing to the Celtics by 18 points in Game 1, the Mavs were certainly more competitive in Game 2 by still lost by a seven-point margin that didn't feel that close. Even though the Mavs kept the game close, it never seemed as if they had much of a chance to win the game during the second half.

In both contests, one thing has become clear - if the Mavs are going to have any shot of not only coming back in this series but even winning a game or two to put up a competitive fight, Kyrie Irving is going to have to break out of his recent slump.

Through two games, Kyrie has let the Mavs down in which he hasn't looked like the player he was during the first three rounds of the NBA Playoffs. In the five-game series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kyrie averaged 27 points and five assists on 49 percent shooting from the field and 38 percent shooting from 3-point range. In two games in the NBA Finals, Kyrie has been a shell of the player he was in the conference finals.

Kyrie Irving's recent struggles against the Boston Celtics

In the first two games of this series against the Celtics, Kyrie is averaging 14 points and four assists on 35 percent shooting from the field and is 0-8 from 3-point range. He's also only shot two combined free throws.

To add to his nightmarish start to the NBA Finals, Kyrie's struggles against the Celtics stem beyond this series. After a Game 2 loss, Kyrie has lost 12 straight games against Boston. It's clear that Kyrie's individual struggles against the Celtics directly impact his team's efforts. And that's what we've seen through the first two games of the NBA Finals.

I'm not saying it's Kyrie's fault and his fault alone that the Mavs find themselves in a 2-0 series hole against Boston. However, when you're best player is averaging 31 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists per game on 51 percent shooting from the field and 38 percent shooting from 3-point range, and Kyrie is being outscored by P.J. Washington, something is off.

With all due respect to Washington, if he's going to be the second-leading scorer on the Mavs, they might get swept. Dallas is in the NBA Finals because Kyrie and Luka were the most lethal offensive 1-2 punch in the Western Conference. If that's not going to be the case in the NBA Finals, it might be time to crown the Celtics now.

The Mavs need a vintage Kyrie performance in Game 3 as the series shifts back to Dallas. If the Mavs don't get it, there's a good chance Boston is going to roll to a championship.

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