A lot of NBA fans and observers thought the Dallas Mavericks had catapulted themselves into championship contenders when they traded for Kyrie Irving in early February.
At the time, they had one of the top six records in the Western Conference and seemed to be an iron-clad lock to make the playoffs.
But within weeks, they went from playoff lock to play-in tournament hopes, and now they must win against the Chicago Bulls on Friday night or they are officially out of play-in tournament contention.
As a result, their chances of making the playoffs plummeted in just two months.
A big change in about two months 😳
(h/t FiveThirtyEight, OpenNBA/IG) pic.twitter.com/NAobjPy8dJ
– NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 7, 2023
It’s an embarrassing swoon for a team that has two of the most dangerous players in basketball in times of crisis.
Irving has hit several clutch shots over the years, including the decisive shot in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, while Doncic is a tough competitor who always wants the ball with the game on the line.
Yet Dallas has gone 7-13 since the All-Star break, and it looks like the team’s season is about to end in a total disaster.
While they have become a potent offensive organization, they have been anemic on the other end, finishing 23rd in defensive rating.
They dropped Dorian Finney-Smith in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets that brought in Irving, perhaps their best frontcourt defender.
What’s happened since has looked like another black mark on Irving’s record, the teams he’s worked with since leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017.
Fans react to today’s Luka Doncic news