NEW ORLEANS (AP) Kyrie Irving made 7 of 10 3-pointers and scored 35 points, Luka Doncic had 15 of his 30 points in a 42-point third quarter and the Dallas Mavericks beat the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans 136-124 on Sunday night.

In the first of two straight games between the teams in New Orleans, the Mavericks shot 20 of 53 from long range. Dallas iced it in the third quarter, making 8 of 13 3-pointers and outscoring the Pelicans 42-31.

Irving told teammates before the game that he was tired and might need their help in picking up the slack.

“That was BS,” Doncic said, laughing.

“I was tired,” Irving insisted. “I told them before the game that I was tired just to humanize what I was dealing with. I didn’t feel like my absolute best, but I knew that we would create some type of inspiration and motivation. I just told them I need to be picked up. Getting up and down the court a little bit, my body started to warm up.”

Doncic was 11 of 18 from the field and made 4 of 9 from long range.

“Everyone’s being unselfish,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. “(Irving and Doncic) are two leaders who set the tone - just unselfish and playing with the pass, and then our pace is different than what we’re used to."

Brandon Ingram led New Orleans with 20 points and Zion Williamson had 18. The Pelicans, without the injured CJ McCollum, Herb Jones and Trey Murphy, have lost five straight.

“We have to be better,” New Orleans coach Willie Green said. “The transition baskets really hurt us. They had 28 fast-break points, but it was our turnovers. And. we’ve got to take quality shots. We’ve got to play with more of a sense of urgency.”

For the second consecutive game, Irving sizzled from the outset, scoring 22 first-half points on 8-of-13 shooting to help the Mavericks take a 67-54 lead. Irving beat the halftime buzzer with a 3-pointer from the right corner.

In a 144-126 home victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, Irving had 20 points in the first half and finished with 27.

Dallas took its biggest lead of the half, 56-40, with 5:28 left in the half on the strength of back-to-back 3-pointers by Irving and another by Doncic.


The teams will meet again Tuesday night in New Orleans in the NBA In-Season Tournament.



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