DALLAS, TEXAS - JANUARY 03: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks brings the ball up court during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at American Airlines Center on January 03, 2024 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images) Dončić currently ranks second in the league in points per game with 33.7. Sam Hodde/Getty Images CNN  — 

The superstar backcourt pairing of Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving combined for 70 points as the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 126-97 on Wednesday.

Dončić, who is averaging 33.7 points per game, scored 41 points, pulled down six rebounds and had five assists. It was his seventh game with at least 40 points scored this season, per Basketball Reference.

Irving, acquired by the Mavericks via trade last season, had 29 points, nine rebounds and five assists in his second game back from a foot injury.

“A lot of great performances by our two stars to get us started,” Dallas head coach Jason Kidd said after the game. “Kai (Irving) didn’t wait tonight. He was aggressive.
And then Luka was Luka.”

The All-Star duo shot a combined 57.5% from the field on a night where the struggling Trail Blazers failed to trouble the Mavs at all.

Dallas put the game out of reach by the end of the first half – the Mavs led by 31 at the break – thanks in no small part to Dončić dropping 30 points in just the first two quarters.

Everything was falling for the dominant Mavericks, including a wild circus shot that saw Irving accidentally bank in a ‘shot’ that was intended as a lob pass to Dereck Lively II.

Dallas emerged from the halftime break with a 78-47 lead and took its foot off the gas pedal slightly. The second half was more evenly matched, but Portland was unable to make much inroads on the Mavs lead and fell to the 29-point defeat.

DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 3: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Dallas Mavericks drives to the basket during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on January 3, 2024 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2024 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images) Irving drives to the basket against the Blazers, Glenn James/NBAE/Getty Images

The Mavs lost both Lively and forward Grant Williams to ankle sprains during the game, which weakened their rotation, but the Blazers’ defensive shortcomings were what ultimately cost them.

“Kyrie got it going early and Luka got it going early,” said Portland guard Anfernee Simons. “It’s going to be a long night if those dudes are playing and firing on all cylinders like that.”

Simons scored 15 while Shaedon Sharpe had 16 points off the bench as the now 9-24 Blazers continue to adjust to life without Damian Lillard.

Meanwhile, Dallas improved to 20-15 with the win and occupies the seventh seed in a competitive Western Conference. The two teams face each other in a rematch on Friday night.

History made in scoring frenzy around the league

As impressive as the Mavericks were offensively, they paled in comparison to some of the scoring outputs on a historic night in the NBA on Wednesday.

For the first time in league history, five teams scored at least 140 points on the same day.

Scoring in the NBA has been trending upwards in recent years, with teams now averaging 115.5 points per game.

The most eye-catching of Wednesday’s results was the overtime battle between the Detroit Pistons and the Utah Jazz which saw both sides break the 140-point barrier.

The Jazz escaped with the 154-148 win after Detroit’s Alec Burks drained a buzzer-beating triple to send the game to OT. The Pistons fall to a dismal 3-31 record as result, having only snapped a 28-game losing streak – tied for the longest in NBA history – on Saturday.

Jan 3, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) reacts to making a three point shot in the last seconds of the game against the Detroit Pistons at Delta Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports Jordan Clarkson celebrates during the game – the Utah guard had 36 points off the bench. Rob Gray/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Elsewhere, star point guard Tyrese Haliburton led the Indiana Pacers to their fourth win over the Milwaukee Bucks this season, posting 31 points and 12 assists in the 142-130 victory, while the Cleveland Cavaliers bulldozed past the Washington Wizards, 140-101.

The Atlanta Hawks had seven players hit double figures in their 141-point night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, who, with 138 points, narrowly missed out on joining the 140+ club.

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