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After 60-point burst, Kyrie Irving sits as Nets face Mavs

Mar 11, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) drives with the ball as Houston Rockets guard Dennis Schroder (17) defends during the third quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

While the Brooklyn Nets are piling up the points lately, the Dallas Mavericks are showing an ability to rally from double-digit deficits and get timely defensive stops.

The Nets put their four-game winning streak on the line Wednesday night when they host the surging Mavericks, who enter with seven wins in eight games.

Brooklyn is averaging 130.3 points during its first four-game winning streak since Dec. 10-16. Three games in the recent run were with Kyrie Irving in the lineup, but he can only play road games for now due to New York’s private-sector vaccine mandate.

Irving scored a career-high and a franchise-record 60 points Tuesday when the Nets cruised to a 150-108 rout of the Orlando Magic. He tied for the most points scored in the NBA this season, doing so one night after fellow New Jersey high school product Karl-Anthony Towns scored 60 for the Minnesota Timberwolves at San Antonio.

Irving shot 20 of 31 from the floor and hit eight 3-pointers in his historic performance, which occurred two days after he sat courtside and watched Kevin Durant score 53 points in Brooklyn’s 110-107 win over the visiting New York Knicks.

While Irving’s big night was memorable, it also helped limit his teammates’ minutes on the front end of a back-to-back set. Irving played 35 minutes, but no other Brooklyn player logged more than 32. Durant had 19 points in 30 minutes after playing 43 minutes on Sunday.

“(Tuesday) worked out well in the big picture. We were able to keep people’s minutes relatively in check,” Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said. “With Ky not playing (Wednesday) night, I thought it worked out well for us (Tuesday) in many, many ways.”

Dallas got a glimpse of Irving’s game while resting comfortably in New York after earning a 95-92 road win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday afternoon. The Mavericks erased a 13-point deficit for their 14th comeback from a double-digit deficit, giving them a 13th win in the past 16 contests.

Dallas is allowing 103.5 points per game this season, and its 106.7 defensive rating since Jan. 1 ranks second in the league. During that span, the Mavericks have held opponents under 100 points 13 times in 33 games.

On Sunday, the Mavericks used a 38-point third quarter to take the lead and held Boston to 34.1 percent shooting from the floor after halftime.

Luka Doncic scored 26 points and hit the tying 3-pointer with 1:21 left after appearing to injure his hamstring in the first half. Doncic scored at least 25 for the 19th time in 23 games. He added eight assists, the last of which set up former Net Spencer Dinwiddie’s game-winning 3-pointer with 11.6 seconds remaining.

“Luka’s M.O. is to make the right basketball play every time,” Dinwiddie said. “Whether that’s post up a smaller guy, feeding a big, stepping back for a three if he’s feeling it, or get all the way to the rim, getting fouled. Or making plays for his teammates.”

The Nets overcame a 17-point deficit in Dallas on Dec. 7, emerging with a 102-99 win. The Mavericks hit just 9 of 46 3-point attempts (19.6 percent) in the defeat.

–Field Level Media