NBA

Coach Joe Mazzulla explains why ‘there is no stopping’ Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving duo

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The Mavericks finally made it to their third-ever NBA Finals last weekend, when they defeated the Timberwolves 4-1 in the Western Conference final series. Their success is mostly credited to their superstar duo Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, who have powered the Dallas offensive with some memorable scoring outbursts throughout the playoffs. 

Due to the duo’s impressive results, rival coach Joe Mazzulla doesn’t believe there is a strategy out there that can stop them. As we grow closer to Game 1 of the Finals, set for this Thursday, he called out the narrative that the series will come down to whether the Celtics can limit Luka and Kyrie.

“The whole thing is that’s what people like to focus on,” the Boston tactician said this past Saturday. “They don’t look at the game as a connected game. If those guys play well, then they beat you. They don’t look at your offense, your defense, your turnovers, your second-chance points or your execution at the offensive end.”

Mazzulla believes they must focus on playing a complete game, not only defending them. “The whole thing that this series is about ‘stopping those two guys,’ there is no stopping them,” Joe explained. “There’s defending them at a high level and there’s playing a complete game because every part of a game is connected.”

The Celtics boss then remarked how the games between Mavs and Wolves really went to show that even though the series ended 4-1, he says every match was very close.

He then pointed out that “the first 3 1/2 quarters are just as important as the last two minutes of the game,” only to add that Minnesota lost because of “things you can control over a long period of time.”

“We’re not here to stop these guys,” Mazzulla shared. “We’re here to play a complete game of basketball and have an understanding of how everything has an effect on everything else. They’re going to score. It’s what they do best. If we don’t take care of the things that are within our control, then that doesn’t put us in the best possible position to win.”

The Celtics locker room also shared their coach’s perception for the NBA Finals and showed respect for the Mavericks superstars

Despite how Boston will end up facing these NBA Finals, one thing for sure is that the team isn’t going to dedicate their entire strategy to stopping Irving and Doncic. When talking to the press, Derrick White carried the same mindset as his coach over handling their rival superstars.

“We know they’re great players,” the guard said. “There’s really no stopping them. You just try to make it difficult for them. They’re going to take tough shots and they’re going to make tough shots. So, just continuing to trust the gameplan, trust that over 48 minutes what we’re doing is going to work.”

While the Slovenian dropped in 32.4 points along with 8.4 assists per contest during their last series, Kyrie contributed with 27 points per game. However, their biggest skill was displaying clutch performances night after night.

“There’s going to be stretches where they hit three, four, five tough shots in a row, but you’ve just got to continue to keep trusting the gameplan and what’s going to work out in the long run,” White added.