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ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Picks Mavs' Luka Doncic & Kyrie Irving as 'Scariest' NBA Duo

Of the top duos who could potentially make the playoffs, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith tabbed the Dallas Mavericks' duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving as the one teams won't want to see.

When the Dallas Mavericks traded for Kyrie Irving last season, the ceiling for him and Luka Doncic was always becoming one of the scarier duos in basketball. 

After their heroics, including one of the greatest game-winning shots you'll ever see from Irving in a 107-105 win over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, they're starting to garner that recognition from the national media. 

ESPN host of First Take, Stephen A. Smith, compared Doncic and Irving to the Nuggets' duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray and picked the Mavs duo as the scarier of the two.

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving

Mar 17, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) celebrates with Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at American Airlines Center.

"I'm going to go with Kyrie and Luka [as] the scariest," Smith said on First Take on Monday. "I didn't say better. I know Jokic and Murray are better, but Kyrie and Luka, when you consider what they're capable of doing. The explosion that's imminent from game to game, there should be nothing that's scarier than that because when those two get rolling, you can't stop them. There's no defensive scheme and there's no answer for them [and] what they bring to the table."

Doncic and Irving's performances epitomized why the Mavs (39-29) are a team few will want to face in the playoffs. Doncic scored 37 points and he had nine rebounds along with three assists. He also made the game-tying 3-pointer with 24.2 seconds left in the game. 

Irving scored 24 points with nine assists and three rebounds and made the game-winning shot with a left-handed floater over the outstretched hand of Jokic. 

Beyond their performances on Sunday, Doncic and Irving have shown up consistently in the playoffs. Across 28 postseason games, Doncic is averaging 32.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game. Irving has also fared well in the postseason, averaging 23.3 points with 4.8 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game in 74 games. He also hit one of the biggest shots in NBA Finals history when he made a go-ahead 3-pointer over Steph Curry with 53 seconds left in Game 7 in the Cleveland Cavaliers 93-89 win over the Golden State Warriors in 2016.

While Murray and Jokic have earned the distinction of the best duo after winning the NBA Finals last season, Doncic and Irving aren't far behind when they're firing on all cylinders. If they can continue to perform as they did on Sunday and lead Dallas on a lengthy playoff run, Doncic and Irving will be knocking on the door of becoming the best tandem in basketball.

"This is what separates the superstars from everybody else," Smith said. "You know exactly what I'm going to do [and] you know how I'm going to do it. What are you going to do about it anyway? Two dudes that are capable of sending that message to you is Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic."