Kevin Durant’s late heroics lift Suns over Mavs in first game against Kyrie Irving since deadline deals

They were on the same floor again. But on different teams.

Sunday’s matinee matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns featured Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s first game against each other since the stars departed from Brooklyn before the trade deadline.

Their elite offensive efficiency was on display in the Suns’ 130-126 victory in Dallas. Durant finished with 37 points, shooting 12-of-17 from the field. Irving finished with 30 points and dished out seven assists.

The tightly contested matchup Sunday was exactly four years after the two superstars last played a game as opponents, with Irving’s Celtics defeating Durant’s Warriors, 128-95. That game was decided early as the Celtics went into halftime up 25.

This time was different.

This game had playoff seeding implications and went down to the wire. Irving and Durant traded buckets in the fourth quarter but the Suns forward’s pull-up jumper with 11 seconds remaining gave his team the lead. The former MVP also knocked down two free throws on the following possession to ice the game.

Sunday’s result notches the Mavericks’ fifth loss in nine games with Irving this season. The guard is averaging 27 points, 6.8 assists and 4.9 rebounds with his new team. His addition makes the Mavericks an offensive juggernaut when paired with Luka Doncic, but the team has a hard time getting needed stops on defense.

Durant is undefeated when suiting up for the Suns so far, averaging 26.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in three games.

Doncic finished with 34 points in the matinee game, but missed an open floater to tie the game late. Doncic and Devin Booker, who scored 36 points, were both issued technical fouls after going nose-to-nose with each other after the play.