I had this one marked on two of my calendars: one is the Dennis Smith Jr for Rookie of the Year calendar and the other is the Uncle Drew for MVP one. I don’t think either of those titles are going to happen anymore and although neither of them won me any FanDuel or DraftKings money with their numbers — Irving scored a Jordan with five assists and Smith had 12 points and a lonely assist — the circled match-up didn’t disappoint because of the following moments.
KYRIE LOOKING LIKE LEBRON
Early in the first quarter, the high-flying Smith got a step on the masked Irving, went up for a lay-up….and got pinned on the backboard? Yep, Irving’s first block in eight games was on a future dunk champ going to the basket. He wasn’t done either. Irving had another block later in the game, giving him his first two-block performance of the season.
WHERE YOU GOING?
After making 9 of his last 16 from three over his last three games, Irving only made one of his six three attempts on the night. The one he did make (54 second mark of the very top video) happened with Smith flying past him. Smith wasn’t much better than Irving from downtown (1-of-4) but threes has been a weak spot in his game so far this season; He’s shooting .227 from three with six 0% games (three 0-for-4 nights).
I’LL BEAT YOUR A$$
After the two above plays, you can imagine the rookie was getting a little frustrated. Midway through the first quarter on a drive, Smith took exception to Irving lifting his elbows up and decided to spit some sweet nothing in his ears. Watching Smith hilariously trash talk Irving gives me an excuse to remind you that Smith once tweeted, “Everybody has god given talents. Mine just so happens to be slangin this wood in my pants.”
DON’T REACH YOUNGBLOOD
Midway through the second quarter, Irving lost Smith with a series of pump fakes before going in for an uncontested layup. The play had Shane Larkin dancing on the sidelines and me missing the sight of Antoine Walker (who wore #8 before Shane) doing his trademark shimmy after a Paul Pierce dagger.
After the OT victory, Irving talked about his match-up with Smith and how it feels to be playing against youngbloods he’s been watching on YouTube over the years.
“It’s always great to go against — it’s kind of weird to call them young guys because I’ve been watching, I knew about these guys when they were in middle school and high school. I’m just an avid YouTube watcher, an avid studier of people’s games. So I’ve been watching him since he was in high school, when he was doing windmills on his AAU team in North Carolina. I’ve been studying for a while. And to play against him now as a 25-year-old man is awesome.
“I’m scouting all the time,” Irving said. “Especially young guys that are coming in that are highly touted as I once was in their position, being a top-three, top-five recruit and being labeled as the next great point guard. And the steps that you have to take in order to do that, it’s a long journey. So you just have to appreciate it. And when you play against them, just give them your best shot.”