Stephen A. Smith ripping Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic after a poor first half in Game 5 of the 2024 NBA Finals. Photo Credit: ABC

The Dallas Mavericks find themselves in a must-win situation in their Game 5 matchup against the Boston Celtics in the 2024 NBA Finals on Monday night. But in the first half of the matchup, their stars were largely nowhere to be found, which led to an epic rant from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith directed largely at Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving.

Both Dončić and Irving largely struggled to find much of anything against the stifling Celtics defense in the first half. So much so that Derrick Jones Jr. was actually the team’s leading scorer through one half of play.

Combined, the Mavericks stars shot just 6-18 from the field for 14 total points in the first half. Simply put, this isn’t going to get it done against an extremely well-rounded Celtics team.

The Celtics took a 67-46 lead into the second half. And during ESPN’s halftime show, Stephen A. Smith made it a point to call out both Dončić and Irving for their mediocre play.

“So, where the hell is the disgust,” said Stephen A. Smith. “Because I am disgusted. This is Game 5 of the NBA Finals, and you’re on the road, the stars show up! The best player for the Dallas Mavericks has been Josh Green off the bench, who hit all of his threes. Luka is holding onto the ball too damn much. He’s disrupted their pace. Kyrie is just a no-show. An absolute no-show right now. We know he is a superstar, he is much better than this. I don’t know what’s going on with him in Boston. But it’s bad, okay.

“Look at them. 6 for 18 shooting, 14 points. (Jayson) Tatum and (Jaylen) Brown, 31 points on 12 of 21 shooting. The stars for Boston showed up. The stars for Dallas, there is an APB out for them right now. Guess what, there is a championship on the line. Show some fight, show some fight.”

Stephen A. is obviously known to overexaggerate at times when it comes to his takes. But it’s really hard to argue his sentiment that the lack of success for Dončić and Irving has played a huge factor in the Mavericks being in such a drastic hole after one half of play.

[Awful Announcing on X]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.