More HoopsHype Rumors

Luka Doncic: 'I thought we were going to be up there'

Yet both franchises this season have performed well under expectation. Doncic was asked how the season has played out compared to what the Mavericks were capable of achieving, especially after the February acquisition of Irving. “Way different,” he said. “I thought we were going to be up there. But we obviously aren’t, so it’s way different than I thought.” Does Doncic share Hardaway’s hope that a play-in berth is still salvageable? “Obviously there’s hope, yeah,” he said. “I always say you’ve got to hope to the last moment. You’ve got to believe you can make it, so we’ve got to believe.”

Luka Doncic: 'If we give up 130 points in four quarters, that’s hard to win'

The fact that the Mavericks shot 61% on Saturday — and along with Hardaway’s big game got 42 points from Luka Doncic and 23 from Kyrie Irving – and still lost is a microcosm of their defensively challenged play all season. “It’s every time the same problem,” Doncic said. “The offense is fine. But if we give up 130 points in four quarters, that’s hard to win.”

Tim Hardaway Jr. on Kyrie Irving: 'I have nothing bad to say about the man at all. All he wants is peace'

Be that as it may, one could also argue that Irving also happens to be a very misunderstood individual. Mavs teammate tim hardaway jr. seems to think so. He’s had a chance to hang with Kyrie since the enigmatic point guard made the mid-season move to Dallas, and at this point, THJ has nothing but admiration for Irving: “He’s awesome man. I have nothing bad to say about the man at all,” Hardaway said on a recent podcast appearance. “All he wants is peace, to be honest with you. He shows it in the locker room, he shows it outside the locker room, he shows it when he’s around the guys when we’re just chilling out.”
When asked about the role he played in LA’s win, Russell decided to point out how the defense of Anthony Edwards made life a bit difficult for him. Ant-Man is considered one of the most explosive offensive players in the NBA today, which is why at times, it’s easy to overlook the defense he brings to the table. D’Angelo, however, isn’t taking this for granted: “They got some great defenders over there. They got a great defensive team. They put Anthony Edwards on me, which is a hell of a defender,” Russell said. “I look at it as create (and) make things happen — not let him affect the game defensively because that’s what gets him going, and I know that. So, for me, it was just trying to point guard it. Make things easy for everybody else.”