The Dallas Mavericks suffered their fourth loss in five games, with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving both available, falling 124-122 to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night.
The team is now 1-4 when both players are available, and Irving attributes that to the pressure he has been putting on himself.
“I really want to win here,” Irving told reporters in a press conference after the game. “I really put a lot of pressure on myself at times. I think I need to scale it back a little bit just because of the second half of the season; just feeling like we got to be great every single possession.”
“Usually, these learning curves or learning moments happen in the preseason, and it’s just happening now,” he continued. “So it definitely puts a glaring eye on what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong.”
“Easy to criticize, but for us, I just got to focus on the best I can be and showing up — not only for Luka but for my teammates.”
“It’s just natural pressure,” Irving explained when asked for clarification. “It’s just like NBA pressure; it just comes with the second half of the season.”
Irving has played seven games with the Mavericks and has averaged 24.7 points and 6.9 assists. The team is 3-4 in those games and sits fifth in the Western Conference at 31-28.
Irving scored his lowest point total as a Maverick with 16 points in 36 minutes on Tuesday and missed some late shots that could have changed the game’s outcome.
“We only have 20 games. 19 games left,” Irving said. “For me personally, I just want to play well. The last two games, I just haven’t played with the fluidity of my game and just complementing others and just doing the little things to get us wins.”
With Dallas trailing by two points, Irving put up a game-winning step-back 3-pointer with about three seconds left, but the shot clanged off the front of the rim.
“It was a good shot, I think,” Doncic told reporters after the game. “It’s Kyrie. He can make a lot of those shots, so we trust it.”
“Great look,” head coach Jason Kidd added. “Ky had the option for two or the three, and he had a good look. I thought it was good.”
“We just couldn’t make a timely shot,” Kidd continued. “… But we got wide open looks, quality looks late. We’ve got to be able to make them.”
Dallas is now 1-2 during their current six-game homestand.
The Mavericks return to the court against the Philadelphia 76ers at 6:30 p.m. CT Thursday.
The Mavericks were one of many teams in action on Tuesday. Here is how other teams fared in their games.
MLB- SPRING TRAINING
Texas Rangers (3-2 in Cactus League)
Last Game: Rangers 6, Colorado Rockies 4
The Rangers won their third consecutive spring training game after an 0-2 start to camp. Texas jumped on Colorado with four runs in the first two innings and added two more in the later innings. Jackson Frazier and Brad Miller homered in the contest.
Noteworthy: Heralded pitching prospect Kumar Rocker made his spring debut in the top of the eighth inning. Rocker allowed one hit before inducing a foul out and a double play.
Next Up: Rangers (split-squad) at San Diego Padres (3-2), 2:05 p.m. CT Wednesday; Los Angeles Dodgers at Rangers (split-squad), 2:05 p.m. CT Wednesday.
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
No.24 Texas A&M Aggies (22-8, 14-3, second in SEC)
Last Game: No.24 Texas A&M 69, Ole Miss 61
Ole Miss’ hot start led to an early 20-8 lead, but that all evaporated quickly as Texas A&M took a six-point lead into halftime. Ole Miss cut the lead down to two with just over 12 minutes left to play, but A&M weathered the storm as it got essential contributions from all nine players it put into the game.
Noteworthy: Texas A&M has now won 14 games in SEC play this season, its most since joining the conference. The mark is also the third-most in program history and had not been achieved since the 1979-80 season.
Next Up: No.2 Alabama (25-4) at No.24 Texas A&M, 11 a.m. CT Saturday.
Texas Tech Red Raiders (16-14, 5-12, ninth in Big 12)
Last Game: No. 3 Kansas 67, Texas Tech 63
The Red Raiders never led but gave the Jayhawks all they could handle. De’Vion Harmon went to the foul line for two free throws that could have tied the game but missed the front end. Harmon made up for it with a three to cut the lead back down to two with five seconds left, but it was not enough to earn the upset.
Noteworthy: The loss is the second consecutive for Texas Tech, who had won four games in a row before a one-point loss to TCU on Saturday.
Next Up: Oklahoma State (16-14) at Texas Tech, 5 p.m. CT Saturday.