DALLAS (AP)Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have their first win together in Dallas – on the highest-scoring and best shooting night from 3-point range this season for the Mavericks.
Doncic had 28 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds and Irving scored 23 points in a 142-116 victory over the woeful San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.
The Mavericks stopped a three-game losing streak in the return from the All-Star break, while the Spurs extended their franchise-record skid to 15 games with their 20th loss in 21 games.
With Doncic and Irving directing the offense, Dallas topped its previous season high of 137 and shot 52% from 3, making 22 of 42.
Tim Hardaway Jr. went 6 of 11 from deep and scored 22 points after missing the last two games before the break with hamstring tightness.
Justin Holiday made 5 of 6 from beyond the arc for 15 points in his Dallas debut eight days after signing with the club as the Mavericks finished with eight players in double figures.
”People say that Luka and Ky need the ball,” coach Jason Kidd said. ”Well, they also know how to use their teammates, and their teammates are delivering right now.”
The start of the opener of a six-game homestand, longest of the season for Dallas, was delayed about 20 minutes because of moisture on the court. Larger-than-normal crews worked before the game and at halftime to dry the court.
Malaki Branham led San Antonio with 23 points, and Keldon Johnson had 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. The Spurs are nearing the end of their annual rodeo road trip, a nine-game trek this year.
Doncic did all of his work in the first three quarters, because Irving eliminated the need for the soon-to-be 24-year-old to play in the fourth.
Irving scored or assisted on 13 consecutive points early in the fourth quarter as a 10-point lead ballooned to 25 before the seven-minute mark. Irving had six assists and combined with Doncic to make 15 of 16 free throws.
”It’s definitely tough, two of the best iso guys in the league on the same team,” Branham said. ”Played them solid and made them kick out to other players. The other players made shots.”
Leading by four when Irving joined Doncic with four minutes remaining in the first half, Dallas pushed the lead to 11 at the break.
Doncic assisted on consecutive dunks by Dwight Powell before a three-point play from Doncic and a turnaround jumper by Irving, who then assisted on 3-pointers from Reggie Bullock and Doncic.
Irving split two defenders as he twisted through the lane on a reverse layup for a 74-63 lead just 0.3 seconds before the first-half buzzer. Doncic watched, and laughed, from midcourt.
”It was insane,” Doncic said. ”It was like three, four people and him and he still got an open layup. That’s why I was laughing.”
Christian Wood scored 16 points, Reggie Bullock had 12 on 4-of-6 shooting from 3, Josh Green scored 11 and Powell had 10.
Charles Bassey scored 16 points for San Antonio, Keita Bates-Diop added 15 and Zach Collins had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
ANOTHER TECH, DIFFERENT REF
Doncic was called for a technical foul in the first quarter in Dallas’ first game with the crew from a December loss in Minnesota when he was given two immediately and ejected. The ejection was assessed by Rodney Mott. This technical came from Karl Lane, who coincidentally shares Doncic’s No. 77.
It was the 12th technical for Doncic. Players must serve a one-game suspension if they get 16 in the regular season, but the count doesn’t carry into the playoffs.
Spurs: Rookie No. 9 overall pick Jeremy Sochan didn’t play because of left quadriceps soreness. PG Tre Jones was out for the seventh time in eight games with a left foot injury. … The Spurs have lost six in a row to Dallas and 11 of 13 since a 25-4 stretch against their Texas rival from March 2012 to April 2019.
Mavericks: Coach Jason Kidd hasn’t sounded optimistic about F/C Maxi Kleber returning from a right hamstring tear during the long homestand. Kleber last played Dec. 12. … F Davis Bertans missed his eighth consecutive game with a right calf strain.
Spurs: The nine-game rodeo road trip ends with consecutive games at Utah separated by a two-day break. The first game is Saturday.
Mavericks: LeBron James and the Lakers visit Sunday. James said he was disappointed his team didn’t acquire Irving at the trade deadline.
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