When the Dallas Mavericks won Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, they put history on their side in more ways than one. It is well known that teams leading NBA playoff series 3-0 have never lost. They have a 155-0 record in those series. And a far more obscure streak favored Dallas just as much. Entering the Western Conference finals, Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving had a 14-0 record in playoff closeout games. Any time his team earned a third victory in a seven-game series, they won the fourth immediately afterward to clinch the series.

Until Tuesday. The Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Mavericks 105-100 in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, dropping Irving to 14-1 in closeout games. Thus ends what was quietly one of the more impressive streaks in all of basketball. To put into perspective how crazy a 14-0 closeout streak is, the NBA's all-time longest team closeout winning streak belongs to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who won only 13 closeout games in a row. Irving was their point guard for 10 of those games. He proceeded to win his only closeout games as a member of the Celtics and Nets, and then added two more for Dallas this season to push the streak up to 14.

But Irving struggled in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. He shot just 6 of 18 from the field as he faced star Minnesota defender Jaden McDaniels far more on Tuesday. In truth, though, Irving's individual numbers don't exactly stand out in closeout situations. He's now averaging 22.7 points, 4.5 assists and 3.7 rebounds in such games, according to Statmuse. He has reached 30 points in only three of his 15 closeout games, and has never topped 31.

To add insult to injury, one of the prevailing stories of this series has been Dallas' dominance in closing the Timberwolves out in the final minutes. Entering Game 4, the Mavericks had a +21 scoring advantage in fourth quarters in this series. Yet Dallas actually led this game 90-89 with 5:57 remaining following an Irving jumper. The Timberwolves outscored them 16-10 the rest of the way to seal the victory.

Fortunately for Dallas, the Irving streak wasn't the only history working in its favor. That 155-0 streak is still intact, and even when you cut it down to 3-1 leads, teams in front by that margin have a 273-13 series record for a win rate of about 95.5%. The Mavericks are firmly in control of this series even after losing Game 4, and can still reach the NBA Finals as soon as Thursday. They just won't do it with Irving's closeout streak still intact.