NBA

Irving: Mavs 'just getting started' with Southwest Division triumph

By Sports Desk April 11, 2024

Kyrie Irving declared the red-hot Dallas Mavericks are "just getting started" after Wednesday's 111-92 win over the Miami Heat saw them wrap up the Southwest Division title.

Irving had 25 points in support of Luka Doncic, who fell just short of his 22nd triple-double of the season by finishing with 29 points, nine rebounds and nine assists at Kaseya Center.

Dallas have hit 50 wins for the season with two games remaining, having won 16 times in their last 18 games, their only defeats in that span coming on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors. 

After they pulled clear of the New Orleans Pelicans to become Southwest champions for the first time since 2020-21, Irving told his team-mates to celebrate, but also to stay focused on the bigger prizes.

"We just know that the job isn't finished and we're just getting started," Irving said after Wednesday's game. "But we do have to celebrate the small wins.

"Tonight was a step in that direction of celebrating a small win, just to get to 50 wins. Some guys in that locker room haven't experienced 50 wins. It's a total organizational effort, top to bottom."

The Mavs have won five in a row since last dropping a game against the Warriors, and they are now within one game of the Los Angeles Clippers for the Western Conference's fourth seed.

Head coach Jason Kidd said: "It sounds great. We've checked the box on one goal."

The Heat, meanwhile, saw their hopes of avoiding the Play-In Tournament take a blow as Jimmy Butler was held to just 12 points, Tyler Herro leading the hosts with 21.

Miami are now two games back of the Indiana Pacers, who occupy the Eastern Conference's sixth seed, and one behind the Philadelphia 76ers in seventh.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra is confident they will bounce back quickly, saying: "We have a great group. We have a very competitive locker room. We all want the same thing.

"Sometimes, this league can just really humble you, and that's what happened tonight."

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