NBA regular season

Kyrie Irving the difference as Mavericks take down Spurs


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Kyrie Irving the difference as Mavericks take down Spurs

CROSS. Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles in front of San Antonio Spurs guard Tre Jones (33) in the second half at Frost Bank Center.

Daniel Dunn/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

With Luka Doncic turning in the worst shooting performance of his career, Kyrie Irving takes charge for the Mavericks

Kyrie Irving hit for 28 points to help the visiting Dallas Mavericks to a 113-107 win over the San Antonio Spurs in a game in which two of the teams’ superstars struggled on Tuesday, March 19 (Wednesday, March 20, Manila time).

The Mavericks (40-29) led by 7 points after three quarters before San Antonio (15-54) went on an 11-2 run to begin the fourth to take a 95-93 lead. The Spurs still held the lead at 101-100 after Tre Jones drove the lane for a reverse layup with 4:10 left but Dallas scored the next 6 points, with Irving’s jumper giving the Mavericks a five-point lead with 1:46 to play.

Devin Vassell’s layup cut the margin for San Antonio. Then Dante Exum canned a three-pointer with 36.8 seconds left to send the Mavericks’ advantage to 6 points, giving the visitors enough of a cushion to win for the sixth time in their past seven games and sweep the four-game season series against San Antonio.

Luka Doncic added 18 points, 16 assists, and 10 rebounds but went just 6 of 27 from the floor for Dallas, amassing the worst shooting night of his career. Exum added 16 points off the bench, Daniel Gafford had 13, and Dereck Lively II hit for 12.

Jones led the Spurs with 22 points, with Vassell adding 19, Keldon Johnson scoring 14, Jeremy Sochan racking up 13 points and 10 rebounds, and rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama settling for 12 points (on 3 of 13 shooting), 11 rebounds, 6 blocks, and 3 assists.

San Antonio has dropped four of its past five games.

Dallas carried a 38-30 lead after the first quarter. The Spurs tied the game at 45 on Jones’ three-pointer with 7:35 to play in the second quarter and took a two-point lead on a pair of Wembanyama free throws on the ensuing possession.

Doncic’s fadeaway jumper with 1:45 left put the Mavericks up by 13 points. San Antonio closed the half with two free throws by Sochan and a dunk by Vassell to make it 65-56 at the break.

Irving led all scorers with 14 points before halftime and Vassell paced the Spurs with 12.

San Antonio scored 11 of the first 13 points in the third quarter to tie the game at 67 after Sochan’s three-pointer at the 7:59 mark. The Mavericks finished the period with a 10-2 run that propelled them to a 91-84 advantage heading into the final quarter. –

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