Kyrie Irving's Historic Record in Clinching Opportunities Bodes Well for Mavericks

Irving is 14-0 in closeout games, an NBA record
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks are now a single victory away from a spot on the NBA Finals after winning their third consecutive contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night. And if history is any indication, they won't have to wait around and sweat anything out based on Kyrie Irving's impressive record in potential closeout games.

Irving, who is playing some incredible basketball and once again at the center of the frame as one of the sport's most gifted players, is 14-for-14 in such opportunities.

The Mavericks guard was once again spectacular in Game 3, scoring 33 points on 12-of-20 shooting and appearing in total control. He's averaging 27.6 points so far in the Western Conference finals and it could be argued that with Luka Dončić he presents one of the more formidable offensive backcourts in recent NBA history.

After playing in back-to-back to NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers — and sealing one with a clutch three-pointer — Irving has been meandering and complicated for a solid six-year stretch that hasn't brought much playoff success. But now he's back on a level that few can match.

Following the game, Irving offered some perspective on his perspective and it sounds like he's not counting any chickens before they are hatched.

“It means absolutely nothing right now," he said. "That’s not even something I’m thinking about. Going into Game 4, it’s still 0-0, and that’s the type of motivation and mentality we had in that locker room. It’s not just me. We feel like the job isn’t finished.”

That, and some luck, gets someone to 14-0 in closeout games. Irving will get a chance to add to this record Tuesday night in Game 4.

Kyle K