Extra Pass: Gear up for Doncic-Irving, Booker-Durant showdown

Published March 5, 2023, 2:00 PMJon Carlos Rodriguez

Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and their new teams will face-off for the first time tomorrow live at 2:00 AM on NBA League Pass.

What’s up with the Phoenix Suns?

The Phoenix Suns are in a different orbit nowadays. And it’s not just because they’re riding a two-game winning streak with the arrival of superstar Kevin Durant, pushing them up to fourth in the West with a 35-29 win-loss record. 

Durant was good in both wins, scoring 23 points in his debut versus Charlotte and then following it up with 20 points versus Chicago. We all know KD can be so much better than that and his contributions are valued more than just a couple of buckets against struggling teams not known for elite defensive schemes.

The Suns are on a special path right now because of the gravity that someone like Durant pulls on a franchise. What happened in Brooklyn will forever be used as case study for What Went Wrong? His stint in Phoenix will be highly scrutinized and over-analyzed, perhaps even more so than the Brooklyn experiment gone wrong. For now, the Suns have yet to be truly tested on the court. This game versus Dallas could change that. 

What’s up with the Dallas Mavericks?

The new era of the Dallas Mavericks started off rocky. The Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving backcourt has shown flashes of brilliance, as expected, but the highlights haven’t exactly translated to wins. 

The Mavs are sitting at sixth place in the West with a 33-31 record, but prior to a win against the Philadelphia 76ers, they lost five of their last six. Just like the Suns, a lot of eyes will be watching closely at how Irving can help push Dallas over the hump, which means getting them finally to the Western Conference Finals after a couple of failed attempts in the Luka Doncic era. 

The win versus Philly showed a glimpse of paradise. Irving scored 40 points, the most points that he’s scored in a game since becoming a Maverick. In that same game, Doncic scored 42 points, which made Dallas history as being the first time ever that two Mavericks scored at least 40 in the same game. Is this the correct formula though? Should Irving and Doncic have to cook at the same time for this thing to work? This game versus Phoenix could answer that. 

Storyline to watch out for

Where to begin? Dallas and Phoenix are enjoying a lukewarm rivalry dating back to last year’s playoffs, where the Mavericks took down the Suns in seven games. Doncic and Devin Booker, two of the league’s premier scorers will always be fun to watch as they go back and forth in bucket-getting and trash-talking.

Now add a layer of Durant and Irving, two of the league’s most talked about superstars, two former champs, two competitors out for greatness. With both players still trying to find their footing in their new homes, this matchup couldn’t have come at a better time. 

Both teams are coming off wins and will be looking to flaunt their new recruits. Who is the better pickup? Who will be the better fit? Who’s going to be more fun to watch: Doncic-Irving or Booker-Durant? Ultimately, will these be the teams that Irving and Durant bring back to the Finals? 


Dallas has a bigger sample size in testing out their new-look roster while Phoenix’s recent runs against two teams in the East felt like light work. Neither team might admit that this game is circled on their respective calendars (cue: “It’s just another game”), but this matchup has so much more story than just a game in early March. 

Make sure to circle this game on your calendar and be ready for a high chance of rain with isolated pettiness.