Did Anthony Edwards Really Call Out Kyrie Irving?

Anthony Edwards, Kyrie Irving - NBA Playoffs-Dallas Mavericks at Minnesota Timberwolves
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves were beaten down by the Dallas Mavericks in game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, and they looked exhausted in the 4th quarter, especially Anthony Edwards, who had to chase Kyrie Irving around all night.

Did Anthony Edwards call out Kyrie Irving?

Was it a surprise that Edwards was guarding arguably Dallas’ most dynamic scorer, certainly their best off-ball shot creator? Nope, because Ant told the world after putting the Denver Nuggets to bed on Sunday that his defensive matchup vs the Mavericks was Kyrie Irving.

Ernie: “Any thoughts on playing the Mavs [in the next round]?”

Edwards: “It’s gonna be fun, man, you know. Umm, my matchup gonna be Kyrie so that’s gonna be fun. We’ll see what I can do vs him.”

Anthony Edwards after beating the Nuggets in game 7

I was caught by surprise when I heard Anthony Edwards announced that he would be guarding Kyrie Irving, mostly because I wasn’t sure whether or not the Wolves wanted him to disclose that.

Really, there was no guarantee that Ant would be tasked with that matchup, especially given how much the Wolves need Edwards to produce on offense. As was proven last night, it’s difficult to have enough energy offensively when you are chasing Kyrie Irving around on defense all game.

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What didn’t cross my mind, was whether or not Kyrie would see Ant’s TNT interview as trash talk. But apparently, the former NBA champion did see it that way, at least to some degree.

At the least, Edwards’ postgame interview from the end of that Denver series gave Irving motivation that he used for a monster performance last night. How do we know that? Kyrie got his own postgame interview with TNT after game one and made it clear that he was motivated after Ant ‘called him out’ on national TV.

Barkley: “You’re at home minding your business the other night with your family. Probably just chilling, having a nice meal. And then [Anthony Edwards] says ‘I got Kyrie’. That’s the most aggressive you have been, in a long time. I know that had to erk you a little bit?”

Kyrie: “Yeah, I used it as a motivational tool [laughs]. When I was sitting home and I saw it, i was like, ‘this is a nod of respect’ and then also, I know what type of game it was going to be for game one and for the rest of the series.”

I hope Kyrie Irving didn’t actually see what Anthony Edwards said after game 7 and convolute it in his head as trash talk. And I’m not sure how Charles Barkley interpreted it that way either.

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If anything, Ant’s mistake was much more based in competitive advantage, than it was bulletin board material. He told Kyrie Irving and the rest of the world who he was guarding in game one. Not only did it allow Dallas to scheme against that, but it also changed Kyrie Irving’s mindset coming in.

Media creating narratives for Minnesota Timberwolves vs Dallas Mavericks

Like, ‘Oh shit, all eyes are going to be on me and the new face of the NBA. I need to prove I’m still a superstar. At the least, I can’t allow him to embarrass me’.

That might not have been the words that fell out of Kyrie Irving’s mouth when he was sitting at that TNT desk (Barkley and the others were too busy putting words in his mouth for him) but that’s pretty much what the above clips said to me.

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Once he found out Anthony Edwards was his matchup, he knew he had to bring it, and he did. But all this nonsense that Ant called him out is just media-created propaganda. There’s a reason why ESPN and TNT aren’t showing the clip of Ant’s interview (like we did above).

Because once you actually see the clip, most right-minded individuals would realize that Edwards didn’t call Irving out at all. Maybe he said something dumb, from a competitive advantage standpoint, but he didn’t call anyone out.

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