The Dallas Mavericks (28-23) successfully completed an East Coast back-to-back two-fer Tuesday with their 119-107 win over the Brooklyn Nets (20-30) at the Barclays Center. The win in Brooklyn comes on the heels of Monday’s 118-102 comeback win in Philadelphia and in response to eight losses in 12 games before that. Tuesday’s win earned the Mavs their first back-to-back wins in nearly a month.
Suffice to say, the Mavericks really needed both of these wins on back-to-back nights. That was asking a lot, but they were able to get it done, and they could stand to bank a few more as the All-Star Break approaches.
Kyrie Irving had one of his most impressive highlights in a Mavs jersey in a brilliant overall performance on his former home court. Early in the third quarter, two Nets defenders blitzed Dončić at the top of the key, and he found Josh Green near the free throw line.
Green flicked a delicate lob toward the rim as Irving skied toward the rim along the baseline, unguarded as if he was somehow cloaked on the play. He caught the feed and jack-knifed home a vicious dunk that put Dallas up 74-52 at the time.
Still can’t believe this happened. pic.twitter.com/m0jHq39Oei— Dalton Trigg (@dalton_trigg) February 7, 2024
The Mavericks roller-coasted — as opposed to coasted — the rest of the way to the 119-107 win. For the first of our five stats that stood out in the win at Brooklyn, let’s stay with Irving.
36: Points from Kyrie Irving
Irving put on a show, leading all scorers with 36 points in his Brooklyn homecoming. He connected on six of his 10 3-point attempts and dished four assists in the win as well. Irving scored 12 points in the second quarter, as the Mavericks built the 20-point lead they would nurse throughout the rest of the game.
He did it all in front of the sparse Brooklyn crowd that half-heartedly booed Irving on his first few touches. His dazzling display of prowess on offense at every level seemed to sap the crowd’s will down the stretch.
35/18/9: Another ridiculous line from Luka Dončić
Not to be outdone, Luka Dončić put up another one of those ridiculous stat lines that only he and Denver’s Nikola Jokic seem to be able to dial up at will. Dončić scored 35 points on four made 3-pointers, but grabbed 18 boards and handed out nine assists as well.
Dončić did leave some points out there on the floor, as he went just 5-of-10 from the free throw line in the win.
The most impressive thing about Dončić and Irving’s 71 combined points against the Nets was the way they played off each other. The ball moved freely between them. They seemed to instinctively know when to cook and when to find the other within the offense.
10-of-13: Mavs’ shooting start to second quarter
Dallas took a 31-24 lead after one and used a hot start to the second to provide some breathing room on the scoreboard. The Mavs hit six of their first seven shot attempts and 10 of their first 13 as their lead swelled to as many as 20 points with four minutes left before halftime.
On the heels of scoring the first quarter’s final seven points, the Mavs got a quick driving bank shot from Irving and Jones Jr.’s transition slam to jump out to a 35-24 lead. Two minutes later, Jaden Hardy’s step-back 3-ball increased the Dallas lead to 46-32.
Dwight Powell’s turnaround in the lane gave the Mavs their first 20-point lead, up 58-38 with 4:23 left in the half, and Irving found Green for his first 3-pointer of the game two minutes later to maintain that 20-point lead, up 62-42 at the time.
Irving and Dončić combined for 36 of Dallas’ 65 points in the first half. The Mavs shot a torrid 13-for-19 from the field and 7-of-9 from 3-point range in the second and 26-for-45 (57.8%) overall in the first half.
1-of-7: The Mavs’ third-quarter cold snap from deep
After shooting 11-of-20 from 3-point territory in the first half, the Mavs went cold from beyond the arc in the third, and it played a big role in letting the Nets back in the game in the second half.
A Jalen Wilson corner 3-pointer that Dončić refused to defend and a coast-to-coast drive from former Maverick Dennis Smith Jr. brought the Nets to within nine, down 80-71 with 3:32 left in the third, but the Mavs were able to find the touch down the stretch to build most of their lead back.
Grant Williams hit the drought-busting 3-pointer in the corner with 1:30 left in the third. Dončić hit two on the next two Mavs’ possessions, the second of which was from about 30 feet away and left teammate Maxi Kleber laughing as they jogged down the court to defend the final possession of the quarter.
After regaining their shooting touch late in the quarter, Dallas took a 92-75 lead to the fourth. Dallas shot 4-of-12 from 3-point range in the third.
13-4: Brooklyn’s fourth-quarter run
Wilson and Mikal Bridges hit 3-pointers to key a 13-4 run for the Nets in the middle of the fourth quarter — their one last gasp to preserve a win at home. Spencer Dinwiddie scored five points in a row on his own to get Brooklyn to within 107-101 with 5:22 left in the fourth.
But Irving’s stare-down, straight-away 3-pointer with 5 minutes left to play, and his pull-up 3-ball from the wing on the next possession gave him 36 points on the night and put the Mavs back up by double digits, 113-101, to fend off the Brooklyn run once more.
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