Stephen A Smith Makes Massive Prediction for Kyrie Irving in Game 6 Against Thunder

Irving is perfect in close-out games and ESPN's Stephen A. Smith has him going for a big performance in Game 6 against the OKC Thunder
May 13, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) drives to the basket
May 13, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) drives to the basket / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks hold a 3-2 series lead over the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder with a chance to close it out at home on Saturday. Luckily, they employ Kyrie Irving, who is a perfect 13-0 in close-out opportunities.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith hopped on First Take Friday morning and called Kyrie Irving the X-factor for Game 6. "The key is... Kyrie Irving," Smith said on air. "I've watched this brother just lurking and at some point in time because of who he is and how explosive he is, you just get the sense that at some point... 'Enough's enough. Let me remind y'all of who the hell I am for a whole game, not just moments in a game.' That's what I suspect and if there's a moment that I see him doing it, it's a moment like this weekend coming up... I think he's gonna do it, I just got this itch, this sense... I'm sensing 40 or 50 (points) from Kyrie."

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Considering Irving has scored just 74 total points this series through five games, 40 or 50 points seems ambitious. But he is one of those players who can turn it on at any time and score at will. He had 30 points in the close-out Game 6 over the Clippers last round and 40 points in the Game 4 loss against the Clippers. He can get there.

Irving has largely struggled to score this series with OKC's Jalen Williams playing great defense on him, averaging just 14.4 PPG on 12.2 FGA per game, well below his regular season averages of 25.6 PPG on 19.5 FGA. He's done a great job setting everyone else up and is playing great defense, but Dallas may need him to be a scorer in Game 6. He's scored in the single digits twice this series, the first time that's happened in a series.

Luka Doncic guided the Mavericks to a pivotal Game 5 win in OKC on Wednesday night with a 30-point triple-double and has now had an extra deal to recover from his injuries. If Irving can step up and be the lead scorer, easing the burden of Doncic can only be a good thing.

Game 6 will tip at 7 p.m. CST from American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

READ MORE: Luka Doncic Leads Dallas Mavericks to Decisive Game 5 Win: 3 Game-Changing Plays

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Austin Veazey joined NoleGameday as the Lead Basketball Writer in 2019, while contributing as a football writer, and started as editor for MavericksGameday in 2024. Veazey was a Florida State Men’s Basketball Manager from 2016-2019. Follow Austin on Twitter at @EasyVeazeyNG