Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic hasn’t been quite himself against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Averaging 29.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and 1.0 steal per game, Doncic is working hard to get the Mavs past the Clippers. Nonetheless, shooting 38.6 percent from the field and 26.5 percent from 3, he has to be better.

Meanwhile, All-Star guard Kyrie Irving has been transcendent. He’s averaging 28.8 points per game on 51.3 percent shooting from the field and 48.5 percent shooting from 3, looking as unstoppable as ever.

But even that won’t guarantee a victory.

Luka Doncic Laments First Round Performance

“I just got to help him more,” Doncic says of Irving, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “I feel like I’m letting him down, so I got to be there… He’s given everything that he has, and he’s been amazing for us the whole series.”

In Game 4, Doncic went 4-12 from the field in the first half, including 0-4 from 3. He was better in the second half, going 6-12 from the field but he still wasn’t able to get his 3 to fall consistently, going 1-4 from behind the arc. He also missed a pair of free-throws in the third quarter that would’ve cut the Clippers’ lead to eight.

As is his custom, Doncic took tough jumpers throughout the game. Yet, he achieved little in the way of creating separation, except when he made a concerted effort to get all the way to the rim. Unfortunately for the Mavs, those forays into the paint were few and far between.

Part of the problem is that Doncic is experiencing knee soreness. To that point, Doncic was listed as questionable ahead of Game 4. Indeed, after the game, Doncic said “it’s hurting obviously, but it shouldn’t be an excuse…”

However, when he was asked about Doncic’s performance, Irving was sympathetic.

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“He wants to play well and knowing he wants to make a bigger impact, even though he’s almost averaging triple-double for the series, but we’re always critical of him and I think he’s always critical of himself,” Irving says.

“So there’s a young kid in the playoffs going against a team that beat him twice, so there’s a little bit of a mental fatigue there as well. But I think this is what makes the beauty of sports come together.”

Kyrie Irving’s Been Here Before

It’s worth noting that Irving is seven years Doncic’s senior. Though Doncic is a basketball prodigy, having a player of Irving’s caliber, status, and age in his corner has understated benefits. Irving’s roller coaster career has put him in virtually every position a star can be in.

When Irving was Doncic’s age, he was being criticized for leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers just a year after winning a championship. Traded to the Boston Celtics, he was tasked with leading the young duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to the playoffs. Boston clinched postseason berths in both seasons that Irving was there. However, Irving was unable to participate in their first playoff run due to complications from a previous knee surgery.

The next year, Irving had an up-and-down performance against the Indiana Pacers in the First Round. He then hit a brick wall in their series against the Milwaukee Bucks. Shooting 42.3 percent from the field against the Pacers and 37.3 percent from the field against the Bucks, his scoring issues weren’t too different from Doncic’s.

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