The partnership of Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic got off to a slow start, but on Thursday the All-Star guard duo had a night to remember.
Irving and Doncic combined for 82 points to help the Dallas Mavericks to a 133-126 home comeback victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Doncic led the way with 42 points and 12 assists, while Irving put up 40 points and six assists.
In their six games together since Irving’s arrival in Dallas, Irving and Doncic have managed just two wins.
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Their performances marked the first time in Mavs history that a pair of teammates each scored at least 40 points in the same game. That kind of offensive performance was certainly something Dallas expected after acquiring Irving in a successful trade with the Brooklyn Nets last month.
«Like I said last time I was sitting here, I just had to join the party and make sure my teammates followed me,» Irving said, referring to his comments earlier in the week when he mentioned feeling pressure. play well in Dallas. «Luka was ready to party, I was ready to party tonight, and it was one of those games tonight where we had some special performances. I’m grateful that the work translated.»
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Doncic appeared to make a concerted effort to get Irving involved early in the game, as Doncic’s first six assists went to Irving.
«I’ve got to keep it up, man,» said Irving, who was 15 of 22 from the floor and 6 of 8 from 3-point range. «I just have to keep it up and stay consistent in terms of being ready for when he’s going to pass and getting used to his flow of play.»
Doncic has been prolific on the offensive end of the court since he entered the NBA and currently leads the league in scoring. At halftime of Thursday’s game he already had 25 points.
«I just enjoyed watching those two work against each other,» Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. «As much as we play the game on paper, it’s still played out on the court. They have to work out the issues, but I think at the end of the day, we’ll be happy with what we’ve got.»
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Philadelphia opened the fourth quarter on a 15-0 run to within four points of Dallas.
«Not again,» Irving said, referring to Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in which the Mavs blew a 27-point lead. “I just got on the bench and I knew I had to be very open in my dialogue, saying, ‘This can’t happen again.’ We just have to hold each other accountable.»
Irving hit a 3-pointer with just over three minutes remaining in the game to increase the Mavs’ lead to 16. Dallas was 25-for-48 from beyond the arc.
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«Playing with Kai is very easy. He helps me a lot. Offense I don’t think it’s a problem. I think offensively, we’re good. It’s just the defensive end. We have to stop,» Doncic. saying.