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Kyrie Irving and the Mavericks ready to take on Thunder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander after impressive Warriors victory

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The Mavericks know the Thunder present an immense challenge.

DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks earned a strong 109-99 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night. However, Luka Doncic left the game with hamstring soreness, and his status for Thursday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder is currently not known. Still, the Mavs will head into Oklahoma City with confidence as they look to upset a team that’s either been at or near the top of the Western Conference for a significant portion of the season.

Kyrie Irving was asked how tough the second of a back-to-back will be in Oklahoma City following Wednesday’s win.

“We get paid to do this, it’s not tough man,” Irving said. “Just got to get prepared, get ready to play a tough team in a tough environment.”

Kyrie Irving said the back-to-back itself won’t be an issue, but the Thunder will be a “tough” opponent.

Dallas lost to the Thunder in early December by a final score of 126-120. They bounced back in February and won 146-111. With the season series tied at one game apiece, the Mavs would love nothing more than to pull off an upset in Oklahoma City. Finding a way to contain the Thunder’s stars will be a challenge, however.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is in the MVP conversation alongside Mavs star Luka Doncic. Gilgeous-Alexander has emerged as a star in recent seasons, but he’s taken a step forward during the 2023-24 campaign.

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I asked Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd about the team’s clash with Oklahoma City, and he quickly mentioned Gilgeous-Alexander.

“You talk about the best team in the West with Oklahoma City,” Kidd said. “They are playing well. Shai (Gilgeous-Alexander) is the head of the snake. You gotta try to keep him out of the paint. They got a lot of other weapons, Chet (Holmgren), those guys, they are playing well. They play extremely well at home so this is another great test for us.”

As Kidd mentioned, Gilgeous-Alexander is the “head of the snake.” This Thunder team features no shortage of other talented players, including rookie Chet Holmgren.

Mavs center Daniel Gafford, who has performed well since getting traded to Dallas, discussed matching up with a star big man like Holmgren.

“Pretty much just preparing for him just like any other big man,” Gafford said of preparing for Holmgren. “He is going to come out and do the things he’s capable of doing. Not going to stop him from scoring, but at the end of the day we are going to make it hard for him for sure. So… the next game in front of us is the most important game. We are going to come out with the mindset to win.”

Dallas has momentum at the moment. They have won four consecutive games. The Mavericks are trying to find consistency, as they have been especially streaky over the past few weeks.

Thursday’s game will be an excellent challenge for Dallas as they attempt to keep their momentum trending in a positive direction. Tip-off is scheduled for 10 PM EST on Thursday night in Oklahoma City.

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Joey Mistretta_headshot

About the Author

Joey Mistretta is a Dallas Mavericks beat reporter and lead MLB editor for ClutchPoints. He is originally from a small town in Southern California. Mistretta graduated college with a degree in broadcast journalism from Biola University.


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