Entering a pivotal Game 3, Kyrie Irving has struggled and been underwhelming for the Mavericks against the Celtics.

The eight-time All-Star is shooting just over 35% from the field and has a combined 28 points in the series, along with five rebounds, eight assists and two steals. Irving feels frustrated by his performance at TD Garden.

“Being back in Boston, there’s such a level of desire that I have inside of me to play well,” Irving told reporters after Mavericks practice on Tuesday, per league-provided transcripts. “Wanted to be there for my teammates. As a competitor, it’s frustrating. But, I don’t want to let that seep in or spill over to any other decisions I have to make there as a player.”

The 32-year-old guard stated that the Mavericks made many mistakes in the first two games in Boston and feels he can improve as the series shifts to Dallas.

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“I can be a lot more fundamentally sound, technical on my shots, not get into the paint often where it’s three or four guys around me, I’m not making a pass,” he said. “(The Celtics) are sending specific strategies against me to make it difficult.”

Irving admitted he told Mavericks star Luka Doncic that he needed to play better after averaging just 14 points in two games.

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“It started with me telling my hermano I got to play better for him, alongside him,” Irving explained. “In order for us to accomplish our goal, we both have to be playing well and we both have to be doing the little things. Doing whatever it takes to win.

“Easy conversation. But it started with me reaching out, just letting him know it’s my fault, taking accountability for not playing particularly well. But also I got to continue to trust my guys around us or around me.”

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How does Irving expect he and Doncic to help each other for the rest of the Finals? Simple, lean on each other.

“I need to have fun in the process,” he said. “We’ve gotten this far because we’ve been a great team, not because we’ve just put it on me and Luka. It’s been a total team, organization effort to get this far. We just got to keep trusting in that.”

Irving added: “The margin of their victories hasn’t really displayed the full story in terms of the Celtics beating us. We just have to continue to lean in on each other, especially when it gets tough out there. We’re going against a great team. They’re not going to stop pressing us, stop their pace, stop testing us on both ends of the floor.

“We know what we’re in for. But now we have to raise it to an even higher level, and it starts with me.”

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The Celtics lead the best-of-seven series 2-0 heading into Game 3 on Wednesday night. Irving appeared to send a message to Celtics fans as he walked off the court Sunday night that he would see them again for Game 5. For the series to return to Boston, Dallas would need to win at least one of the two games at American Airlines Center.

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images