Texarkana Gazette

Durant tiebreaker lifts Suns over Mavs in showcase of stars


DALLAS — Kevin Durant’s tiebreaker jumper was like so many before — right on target in the closing seconds.

Luka Doncic’s potential tying floater moments later in front of the rim was unlike most of his — spinning around and out.

What happened next was familiar — a little bad blood from last season’s playoff series spilling, with Doncic and Devin Booker nose-tonose before getting double technicals.

Durant scored 37 points, including the go-ahead shot, 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 at 126-all when Durant pulled up over Tim Hardaway Jr. and Irving, who scrambled over for the double team when Durant went to his left.

Too late. “Nobody’s ever going to retreat when they guard me,” Durant said. “So sometimes I’ve got to veer off instead of straight-line driving it. I felt like I had a good handle on the ball. Once I had it on my hip I felt like I was in good position to stop on a dime.”

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.

Doncic had 34 points and nine rebounds before the point-blank shot that could have tied it. He grabbed Durant for a foul after the rebound with 3.5 seconds remaining.

After the foul, Doncic and Booker, who scored 36 points, pushed and jawed at each other as officials and team personnel separated them before Durant’s two clinching free throws.

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