NBA: Kyrie Irving, Luka Doncic carry Mavericks past Spurs

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Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) moves the ball against San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

DALLAS — Kyrie Irving scored 34 points, Luka Doncic had 27 before leaving early in the fourth period and the Dallas Mavericks overcame an early 15-point deficit to beat the San Antonio Spurs 116-93 in the NBA on Wednesday night.

Doncic left three minutes into the fourth quarter holding his neck. A team spokesman said Doncic, who also had nine rebounds and eight assists in 31 minutes, received treatment.

The game was the last for both teams before the NBA All-Star break, with the Mavericks (32-23) winning a season-best sixth straight and the Spurs (11-44) falling for the eighth time in nine contests.

Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama had 26 points — 20 in the first half — nine rebounds and three blocks in his belated Dallas debut. He was a late scratch in the Spurs’ first trip to American Airlines Center in late December when he sprained an ankle during warmups, stepping on a ball boy’s foot.

Dallas outscored San Antonio 15-1 closing the first half to lead 56-51, then began the third quarter on a 26-7 run. The Mavericks led by 29 points.

Irving scored 17 points in the second quarter by hitting 8 of 10 after a scoreless first period missing three shots from the floor. Midway through the third quarter, he drove the left baseline into Wembanyama and flipped a shot over the 7-foot-3 center that had the rookie shaking his head.

“Victor didn’t know what to do,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “Kai knew exactly what he was doing.”

“The big fella just came over and said that was a lucky shot,” Irving said.

The Spurs shot 44.2% in the first quarter, hitting 4 of 10 3-pointers, building a 15-point lead. Afterward, they shot 33.3% and were 6 of 30 behind the arc.

“In today’s league, you can’t be 10 for 40 (on 3-pointers) and have a decent chance to win a game,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “On top of that, I thought Luka and Kyrie, you know, they played like Hall of Fame players.”

Wembanyama came off his second triple-double with 27 points, 14 rebounds, and an NBA-season-high 10 blocks in a 23-point win at Toronto on Monday.

When asked about Wembanyama’s dropoff following Wednesday’s first period, Popovich said, “You’re sort of treating him like I used to treat David (Robinson, the Hall of Famer). ‘Hey, David, come on!’ (Wembanyama) had 26 points, he had nine rebounds and three blocks, and you’re bitching at him. Come on.”

Dereck Lively II returned to the Mavericks’ lineup after missing seven games with a broken nose and wore a protective mask. Seeing limited time off the bench, Lively had eight points and five rebounds in 17 minutes.

Dallas’ Daniel Gafford, acquired at the trade deadline from Washington, had his second consecutive double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.



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NEXT SCHEDULE

Spurs: At Sacramento on Thursday, Feb. 22.

Mavericks: Host Phoenix on Thursday, Feb. 22.





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