Irving accepts he must 'scale back' the pressure as shooting struggles continue

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Kyrie Irving accepts he needs "scale back" the pressure he is putting on himself after his shooting struggles continued in the Dallas Mavericks' loss to the Indiana Pacers.

The eight-time NBA All-Star scored 16 points in Tuesday's 124-122 defeat at American Airlines Center as the Mavs dropped to seventh in the Western Conference.

He has averaged 24.7 points in his seven games since joining in a high-profile trade from the Brooklyn Nets, taking his overall average for the season to 26.7.

Irving has made just 15 of his 40 field-goal attempts over the Mavs' past two games and missed a potential game-winning three late on against the Pacers.

Speaking after his side's fifth defeat in six outings, Irving said: "I appreciate the coaching staff and my team-mates trusting me with that shot and the comfort they gave me.

"I really want to win here. I really put a lot of pressure on myself at times. I think I need to scale it back a little bit.

"In the second half of the season, we feel we've got to be great every single possession. Usually these learning curves happen in preseason, but it's happening now.

"It definitely puts a glaring eye on what we're doing right and what we're doing wrong.

"It's easy to criticise, but for us, I've just got to focus on being the best that I can be and showing up for not only Luka [Doncic], but for my team-mates."

Partnering Irving with fellow superstar Doncic was supposed to bring instant success to the Mavs, but the former does not believe he has yet to truly arrive.

"It's the big business, baby," Irving said. "As much pressure as I put on myself, I have goals that I would love to accomplish, but all those are pushed to the side.

"I know I have 15 other guys on this team that are relying on me to do things that they've either seen me do or they're expecting me to do as one of the best players in the league.

"So sitting alongside Luka, I just have to show up to the party.

"I've been in situations in this league. Some have been failures, some have been successes, but over the last few years I've made it a goal of mine to be stronger mentally, especially dealing with the rigours of this mentally, physically, emotionally. It'll come. It'll come."

The Mavs are back in action on Thursday when taking on the Philadelphia 76ers.