With the Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks scheduled to begin Wednesday in San Francisco, two of the game’s biggest stars will be front and center with Stephen Curry starring for the Warriors and Luka Doncic leading the surprising Mavericks.
Some players are built for those playoff moments that require extreme focus under pressure. Who do you call when you need a bucket for all the marbles?
On a recent episode of ESPN’s “First Take,” Stephen A. Smith said he is siding with Curry over Doncic in the clutch.
“We’re not throwing any shade on Luka Doncic whatsoever, I’m simply elevating Steph Curry.”
SAS is going with the more battle-tested and proven Curry, who’s playing in his sixth Western Conference Finals, while Doncic is making his conference finals debut.
Stephen A. Smith has been saying the Warriors would win it all since the return of Klay Thompson after nearly two years in January. So no way he changes his pick now.
Warriors in 6. pic.twitter.com/jRoDOmTagm
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) May 16, 2022
JJ Redick Had A Rebuttal: He’s Rocking Luka
Analyst JJ Redick gives Steph his props but says in the crunch, as things stand right now, he’s riding with the “Slovenian Sniper.”
“We’re talking about right now, in 2022 who would you rather have with the ball, with the game on the line? It’s clearly Luka Doncic,” Redick, who fancies himself a basketball nerd, insisted.
The former Duke sharpshooter wasn’t done:
“This is not a knock on Steph. Think about all the stuff that you have to do, all the people that you have to involve, to get Steph Curry a shot at the end of the game. Think about all the action you have to run. You know what you have to do with Luka? You give him the ball, and he’s going to create a good shot.”
Redick makes a valid point, with Luka being 6 feet 8 and 230 pounds, it makes it easier for him to get a good shot. He’s also the Mavs’ primary ball-handler. Curry is magical with the pill so he can get a good shot off as well at 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, but it probably won’t be a better shot than what Luka can create.
— Adel🇾🇪ابوقصي (@__adel22) May 17, 2022
Curry Excited For Matchup
With Steph Curry being the only player from the NBA75 left in these NBA playoffs, this is uncharted waters for the former two-time MVP. He’s used to seeing his era’s superstars during his run through the postseason. This time around he faced reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, rising star Ja Morant, and now the cockiest kid in the game, Luka Doncic. The baby-faced assassin from Davidson is officially an NBA elder statesman.
Earlier this week Curry was asked about the possible changing of the guard in this year’s postseason and if it’s weird that none of the usual suspects are on the opposing side.
“A little bit. But you’re so locked into what’s in front of you that you don’t really think about it too much. Especially when you’re in a series. You’re just worried about those 14 guys on the other side. That requires all of your attention and emotional energy.”
Based on the experience factor, you can see why SAS would take Curry over Doncic, he’s been there and done that on this stage. But don’t discount Doncic, who has a flair for the dramatic. He may have not been on this stage before, but he won’t be afraid of the moment, as he showed in the Mavs’ Game 7 blowout win over the Suns.
It’s safe to say that one day Doncic will join Curry on that NBA Top 75 list, and this series would be the best time to get a leg up.