Kyrie Irving makes NBA history as Mavs move onto Western Conference Finals

kyrie irving makes nba history as mavs move onto western conference finals

kyrie-irving

The Dallas Mavericks are heading to the Western Conference Finals for the second time in three years, thanks in large part to their dynamic back-court scorer, Kyrie Irving. Coupled with the Mavericks' franchise corner piece, Luka Doncic, the Mavs steered the roster past the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round. In doing so, Kyrie became the only player in NBA history to move to 14-0 in closeout games in his career.

The Mavs triumphed in six games against a young and hungry OKC team led by superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Irving and company made a heroic effort in the contest, erasing a 16-point half-time deficit to reach the Western Conference Finals and slice out a piece of unique league history for the 32-year-old.

A turbulent journey

Irving scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half, adding to his ongoing legacy of showing up when it matters most. In doing so, he maintained a perfect record in elimination games, dating back to his stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

It was a satisfying moment for Kyrie, who has battled through his fair share of disappointments in relation to postseason success.

During his first stint with the Cavs, despite being clearly one of the more talented players in the league, Irving failed to lead the Wine and Gold to the playoffs for three seasons before LeBron James decided to return home.

In what was a steep learning curve for Kyrie alongside James on what it takes to win at the pointy end of the season, he played a pivotal role in capturing the Cav's first and only title in 2016 before deciding to depart Ohio in the hopes of leading his own team.

Needless to say, his decision backfired. After being traded to the Boston Celtics, he stumbled in leading them as their best player. In fact, the Celtics technically had a better overall record without him on the floor and even made a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals with him injured and watching from the sidelines.

Next came Brooklyn, as the NBA world was turned on its head by his decision to team up with superstar Kevin Durant and sign with the Nets. In what turned out to be another poor decision, a combination of injuries and a toxic culture saw the Nets win just one playoff series with him on the roster.

The Mavs got word Irving might be available and pulled the trigger on pairing Doncic with another genuine superstar to see how far he could help push their ceiling. After missing the playoffs last season, Dallas flipped the script this campaign and now find themselves just one series away from a Finals berth.

Changing his universal reputation

Irving admitted to getting emotional during his post-game press conference after the buzzer sounded and needed to make a speech to his teammates in the locker room.

His admission was a relief not only for making a Conference Finals after such a long time but also because he could feel the start of his reputation turning for the better.

It's no secret Kyrie has been the most intriguing and controversial figure in the league since leaving the Cavs. He has refused to get the COVID-19 vaccination and has been suspended by the Nets following his social media activity supporting an anti-Semitic movie.

Now, he looks to be endearing himself to the public, the media, and the fans around the league yet again for his play on the court, absence of drama, and his leadership for the franchise.

The Mavs are four wins away from competing for a title, and in doing so, Kyrie not only reversed his reputation but also collected an impressive piece of NBA history.

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