Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving dropped 47 points on the Dallas Mavericks and their rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. last month, so naturally, the former North Carolina State star was out to make sure it didn’t happen again Wednesday night at TD Garden.
Irving won the first battle between the two guards when he blocked a Smith layup by pinning the ball against the backboard in the first quarter.
The intensity started heating up between the two guards in the second quarter.
Irving fouled Smith hard on a drive to the basket, and he kind of elbowed the rookie afterward, too. Both players were assessed a technical foul.
Irving, who’s arguably the best dribbler in the NBA, fooled Smith with this sweet move to the rim later in the quarter.
There was plenty of trash talk in this matchup for the rest of the half, and it’s unlikely to stop in the second 24 minutes. Irving finished the first half with a team-high 12 points on 5-for-9 shooting, while Smith led the Mavs with 12 points on 4-for-11 from the floor.
You have to respect Smith’s competitiveness. He’s not going to back down or be afraid to go toe-to-toe with one of the league’s best players.