Durant tiebreaker lifts Suns over Mavs in showcase of stars
DALLAS (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 37 points, including the tiebreaking jumper with 11 seconds to go, to lift the Phoenix Suns to a 130-126 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday in a thrilling showcase of stars for both teams.
The first meeting between Durant and Dallas' Kyrie Irving since they were traded by Brooklyn before the deadline last month was even when Durant pulled up over Tim Hardaway Jr. and Irving for the lead.
Luka Doncic had 34 points for Dallas, but his point-blank shot for a tie rimmed out before he fouled Durant after the rebound with 3.5 seconds remaining.
After the play was over, Doncic and Devin Booker, who scored 36 points, ended up nose-to-nose and both were issued technical fouls before Durant hit two free throws to clinch the victory.
It was the 14th technical of the season for Doncic, two shy of the threshold for a one-game suspension.
Irving scored 30 points exactly four years to the day since the last time he faced Durant, when his Boston Celtics blew out Durant and his Golden State Warriors 128-95.
Phoenix's win left the teams tied in the season series, with playoff seedings in the Western Conference wide open below top-seeded Denver.
Chris Paul scored eight of his 11 points in the fourth quarter for one of several tiebreaking or go-ahead buckets for both teams.
Phoenix two-way player Ish Wainwright, who was a role player 100 miles down the road from Dallas at Baylor before a brief stint as a tight end for the Bears, went 4 for 5 from 3-point range in the second half for 12 points.
Durant was 12 of 17 from the field and 10 of 11 from the line in his first 30-point performance in three games since joining the Suns in a blockbuster deal with the Nets that came days after the Mavs acquired Irving.
Phoenix is 3-0 with Durant, while Dallas dropped to 3-6 since Irving joined the club. The Mavs are 2-3 on a six-game homestand, their longest of the season.
Suns: Josh Okogie was 0 of 8 on mostly corner 3s when Torrey Craig hit one from the left corner and Wainwright dropped two in a row from the right corner to turn Phoenix’s 93-85 deficit into a 94-93 lead late in the third quarter. ... Deandre Ayton had nine points and 16 rebounds. Just three of the points came after the opening minutes, but two were on a putback during the frantic final minute.
Mavericks: F/C Maxi Kleber was inactive after playing two games coming off a hamstring tear that had sidelined him since December. ... F Davis Bertans (left calf strain) was available for the first time since Feb. 2. ... Hardaway scored 18 of his 21 points in the first half. ... Doncic had nine rebounds, and Irving had seven assists.
Suns: Play Oklahoma City at home Wednesday.
Mavericks: Play Utah on Tuesday to finish the six-game homestand.
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Schuyler Dixon, The Associated Press