Stephen A. Smith criticises Kyrie Irving's NBA Finals performance

Smith criticised Irving's NBA Finals performance, highlighting his struggles in Boston and potential for redemption.

Pop Culture & Art June 18, 2024

Stephen A. Smith critiqued Kyrie Irving's performance in the 2024 NBA Finals expressing both praise and disappointment. 

"I think that Kyrie's a superstar in this league, and I want to say this: very proud of Kyrie. A lot of us should be very proud of Kyrie. He's overcome a lot," Smith stated, acknowledging Irving's resilience. However, Smith did not shy away from addressing Irving's shortcomings on the court.

"Strictly about basketball, his performances in the three games in Boston were horrid for his standards. He was a no-show, and it was shocking to see him," Smith commented on ESPN’s show 'First Take.' He highlighted Irving's stark contrast in performance between home and away games. In Dallas, Irving averaged 28 points with 50% shooting from the field and 42% from three-point range. In Boston, however, his performance plummeted to an average of 14.3 points with 34% shooting and 18% from three-point range.

Smith suggested that the intense atmosphere in Boston affected Irving significantly. "Boston got in his head, and I'm not talking about the players; I'm talking about the city, the fans, the 'Kyrie sucks' chants," Smith explained. He emphasized that Irving, a former Celtics player, faced additional pressure and scrutiny from the Boston crowd, which viewed him as a traitor for leaving the team abruptly in 2019.

Despite these challenges, Smith acknowledged Irving's greatness and potential for redemption. "We've seen the great Kyrie Irving figure stuff out throughout his career. He's a champion for God's sakes," Smith said. However, he noted that Irving's poor performance in Boston during the Finals will be hard to live down.

The 2024 NBA Finals concluded with the Boston Celtics defeating the Dallas Mavericks in five games, securing their 18th championship and their first since 2008. Jaylen Brown was named the Finals MVP, averaging 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, and five assists per game.



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