DALLAS (AP) — Kyrie Irving said after four losses in five games alongside Luka Doncic that he simply needed to join the party.
This was quite the shindig.
Doncic scored 42 points, Irving added 40 and the new All-Star pairing sparkled throughout the Dallas Mavericks’ 133-126 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.
Doncic won a matchup of the NBA’s top two scorers as Joel Embiid finished with 35 points for the 76ers, who were playing a night after a win in Miami without their All-Star center.
Irving and Doncic became the first Dallas teammates to score at least 40 in the same game. They were just the fifth pair of players on the same team do it in regulation in 30 years.
“Luka was ready for the party,” Irving said. “I was ready for the party tonight. It was one of those games where we had some special performances. I’m just grateful that the work translated because it could have gone either way.”
They each had a 20-point first half while combining for 45, then combined to score 10 points in the first 102 seconds of the third quarter to start a 20-4 run for a 91-71 Dallas lead.
The 76ers scored the first 15 points of the fourth quarter to get within four with Embiid and James Harden watching from the bench, which brought Doncic back in the game earlier than planned.
The return of Doncic, who had 12 assists, got Irving going again with a three-point play and a deep 3-pointer before Doncic hit another long one for a 119-108 lead. They combined to go 13 of 21 from deep.
“They were tough with one wizard with the basketball in Luka,” Sixers forward Tobias Harris said. “Now they’ve got two of them out there. Those are tough matchups. They just picked us apart tonight.”
The franchise’s first pair of All-Star starters, who won for the second time in six games together since Irving arrived in the blockbuster trade with Brooklyn, got others involved, too.
Five other Mavericks hit 3-pointers as Dallas finished with a season-high 25 3s on 48 attempts (52%). Irving assisted on several of those and finished with six.
“Everybody they passed to made it,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said. “You have nights like that, and they had a night like that tonight.”
Harden made his first 11 shots — five from the field, including three 3s and six free throws — while finishing the first half with 19 points and 10 assists.
The 10-time All-Star guard was limited to eight points and three assists after the break and had two of his six turnovers in the fourth quarter — on steals by Doncic and Irving — when Dallas was rebuilding its lead.
Doncic and Irving pulled up for long 3s, with Doncic also beating Embiid with step-back shots after switches. Both scored around the basket as well, with Irving making several acrobatic layups.
“If I had to pay to watch someone play, it would be him for sure,” Doncic said of his fellow All-Star starter. “Because some of those moves are incredible.”
They were 28 of 44 from the field — each attempting 22 shots, with Doncic also going 9 of 11 on free throws. Dallas shot 55% and won despite Philadelphia being even better from the field at 58%.
76ers: Tyrese Maxey scored 29 points. … Jalen McDaniels picked up three fouls in 14 seconds and four in less than a minute late in the third quarter. Two seconds after he and coach Doc Rivers complained about a call when he knocked the ball out of Doncic’s hands, McDaniels ran through a screen from Maxi Kleber for his fourth in the sequence and fifth overall.
Mavericks: Reggie Bullock (15 points) and Christian (10) were the other double-figure scorers. … Maxi Kleber and Tim Hardaway Jr. each went 2 of 4 from 3, with Kleber scoring nine and Hardaway eight.
76ers: The third game of a five-game trip, and third game in four nights, at Milwaukee on Saturday.
Mavericks: Phoenix visits Sunday in the first meeting between Kevin Durant and Irving since both were traded by Brooklyn.