May 24, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) controls the ball against Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) in the second quarter during game two of the western conference finals for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen A. Smith says Anthony Edwards guarding — and calling out — Kyrie Irving is the biggest reason the Dallas Mavericks hold a 3-0 series lead over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Smith has continued to double and even triple down on that take, one that the media initially charged up. Irving doesn’t need any extra motivation to head back to the NBA Finals for the first time since he left Cleveland in 2017. Irving viewed it as a nod of respect, understanding what type of game — and series, for that matter — this would be. While Irving did say it was added motivation, perhaps placing that as the sole reason Minnesota is three games in the hole is a bit far-fetched.

And that’s exactly what Brian Windhorst said during an appearance on Get Up Tuesday. The ESPN NBA insider and analyst was up in arms over how three words, “I got Kyrie,” could be construed as trash talk and the sole reason why Dallas is one win away from the NBA Finals.

“That’s considered trash talk? That’s why they’re up 3-0? It has nothing to do with the Kyrie Irving and Luka Dončić relationship that has been building for 13-14 months now?” Windhorst asked. “It has nothing to do with the play of the rookies coming together? It has nothing to do with the midseason trades? Does it have nothing to do with Jason Kidd’s game plan? It has nothing to do with the symbiosis of the two guards working together in crunch time.

“(Edwards) saying ‘I got Kyrie,’ otherwise, what, Kyrie wasn’t gonna play in this series? Was he gonna say, ‘You know what? We had a great season. I’m just gonna opt out. Oh — oh, he said he’s got me? Well, now I’m gonna play. I mean, I understand that we like trash talk, and I don’t want to dismiss it. And I understand Stephen A. hypes up a series more than anybody, but come on. I hear Luka Dončić say 15 worse things to the opponent in pregame warmups than ‘I got Kyrie.'”

With that, it’d be fair to say that Windy strongly disagrees with the notion that Edwards’ comment about guarding Irving is the sole reason for Dallas’ 3-0 lead.

He argues that Smith’s focus on a single pre-series quote ignores the bigger picture. There’s always a multifaceted nature of basketball success; it’s never just one thing. There’s the established chemistry between Dončić and Irving and also the strategic coaching decisions Kidd has made throughout the first three games. However, even the unpredictable element of luck can play a role in any series — especially the playoffs. That doesn’t diminish the Mavericks’ dominance, but every team can benefit from a few fortunate bounces.

At the same time, Windhorst wanted to make a point by dismantling Smith’s simplistic argument, aiming to paint a more nuanced picture of the Mavericks’ dominance than a few words being uttered by an opponent.

[Awful Announcing]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.