LOS ANGELES – What a week it is to be in La-La Land.

First the Grammy Awards on Sunday. Then on Tuesday (or maybe Thursday) the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James will become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

And though it’s not as quite as historic, it’s still a major moment in the sports world when Kyrie Irving makes his debut for the Mavericks on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Mavericks will try to keep the good vibes going on their five-game trip that was jump-started with Monday’s 124-111 win at Utah.

In the Clippers, they will be seeing one of the hottest teams in the NBA. They have won eight of their last 10, including four of six on a long trip that ended Monday with a win at Brooklyn after the Irving trade sent him to Dallas.

Irving will be one of the Mavericks’ starters. Luka Dončić will join the team but won’t play as he recovers from his right heel injury.

That means Irving will get the Luka treatment, most likely, with frequent double teams. Coach Jason Kidd prepped his new guard on how to handle those situations.

“We gave him a short list of offensive sets (and) defensive terminology,” Kidd said. “Brooklyn kind of runs some of the same plays, just different names. He understands what we’re trying to do.

“For us, understanding where his sweet spots are and also if they do (double team) him that guys understand where they have to be. I think that’s going to be an easy thing for him to translate is that when he gets double-teamed, he will know where these guys will be.”

This also will be another part of the education process for young players like Josh Green and Jaden Hardy, Kidd said.

“Ky’s a part of the family,” he said. “On and off the floor, I’m here to help. When you talk about Josh and Hardy, we’re trying to help those young guys. To have someone like Ky, I think this will benefit Hardy and Josh. I was joking with Josh, do not dribble like Kyrie, just keep the ball in front and not behind your back. But it will help a lot of our younger guys get better.”

Here’s what else to watch for as the Mavericks and Clippers tangle on national television (ESPN).

  • Paul George is having a Luka-light version of this season. He’s averaging 23.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists while shooting 39 percent from three-point range. That was good enough for him to be named an all-star reserve. And yet, the Clippers best player of late is Kawhi Leonard, who has averaged 28.8 points and shot a torrid 45.8 percent from three-point land in his last nine games.
  • This is the middle game of the Mavericks’ five-game Western trip that concludes with games Friday and Saturday at Sacramento.
  • The Clippers are a top-10 team in overall defensive rating and they are third in the league in fewest points allowed at 110.9 per game. Part of that is the result of a relatively slow pace that they play. But they also ninth in the league in limiting opponents to 46.7 percent shooting.


  • When: 9 p.m. Wednesday.
  • Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles.
  • TV: Bally’s Sports Southwest, ESPN.
  • Radio:1 FM, 99.1 FM Zona MX (Spanish).

Twitter: @ESefko

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