NBA: Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving star as Mavericks hold off 76ers in shootout
Offensive fireworks were expected in a game featuring the top two scorers in the league in Doncic and 76ers center Joel Embiid.
But the seamless blend of Doncic and Irving was a revelation after the Mavs had gone 1-4 with the two on court since Irving’s arrival via a trade with Brooklyn last month.
The two combined for 18 assists. Doncic made 13 of his 22 attempts from the floor, draining seven of the Mavs’ 25 three-pointers.
Irving made six of his eight three-pointers, scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter to help the Mavericks respond after the Sixers cut a 25-point deficit to four with a 15-0 run to open the final period.
The Mavericks had seized control with an explosive third quarter in which they opened on a 20-4 tear and out-scored Philadelphia 39-24.
The 76ers’ late push, however, recalled Dallas’ collapse from a 27-point lead in a loss to the Lakers on Sunday.
“We’ve got to keep the pace,” Irving said of the Mavericks’ late lapses. “We’ve had a few tough games — by three points, two points — and we’ve just got to finish stronger.
“It’s a learning lesson going along, but I’m glad we could come out with this win tonight,” added Irving after he and Doncic became the first Dallas teammates to score at least 40 points in the same game.
Embiid scored 35 points in his return after sitting out the 76ers’ victory Wednesday in Miami.
He and three-time scoring champion James Harden were on the bench as the 76ers stormed back early in the fourth, when Tyrese Maxey’s basket pulled Philadelphia within 110-106 with 9:22 to play.
Irving’s basket, off a feed from Doncic, then gave Dallas their first points of the period. He was fouled on the play and converted the free throw, then he and Doncic hit back-to-back three-pointers to push the lead back to double digits.
Harden, who had 19 points and 10 assists in the first half, was limited to eight points after the interval and gave up two turnovers in the fourth.
In Washington, Kyle Kuzma’s big night propelled the Wizards to a 119-108 victory over the Toronto Raptors in the first of two games between the teams in three days.
Kuzma set the tone by scoring the first 10 points of the contest, draining a pair of three-pointers and throwing down a dunk to stake the Wizards to a quick lead.
He was still going strong in the fourth, capping a 12-2 Wizards run with a three-pointer and a layup that pushed Washington’s lead to 19 points.
Kuzma finished with 30 points and Kristaps Porzingis added 25 as the Wizards narrowed the gap on the Raptors in the race for ninth place in the Eastern Conference.