Irving scores 42, Hardaway Jr. has 41 as Mavs rally past Pelicans
Fellow All-Star Luka Doncic's injury opened things for a new partner.
Irving scored 42 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. finished one off his career high with 41 and the Mavericks split a two-game home set with New Orleans by beating the Pelicans 125-120 on Monday.
The 40-point pairing came with Doncic missing a third consecutive game with a sprained ankle. Irving and Doncic were the other pair of 40-point scorers in March.
Hardaway set up the repeat — and clinched his second career 40-point game — with a go-ahead 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. He left the game briefly earlier after mildly spraining an ankle.
“Opportunity presented itself,” Hardaway said. “We keep preaching next-man-up mentality. I wish I had a couple of those shots back. But 41 sounds good.”
Zion Williamson scored 30 points but was 6 of 11 on free throws, including a miss with 17 seconds left when he had a chance to get New Orleans even after Dallas fouled him on purpose near midcourt before he could start one of his smooth left-handed moves to the basket.
The Pelicans finished 31 of 41 at the line.
“It's going to impact every game,” coach Willie Green said. “It's something that we're working on, but we've go step up to the line and make our free throws.”
CJ McCollum scored 23 points for the Pelicans, who won the first game 118-110 despite missing their top three scorers in Williamson, McCollum and Brandon Ingram, who scored 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting, including a miss on a potential tying 3 in the final seconds.
The Mavericks, who were down seven midway through the fourth quarter, got within two on a 3-pointer from Hardaway. He hit another one the next time down to clinch his second career 40-point game and give Dallas a 112-111 lead.
Hardaway went 9 of 15 from long range, finishing one off his career in that category also. Irving bounced back from a rough start shooting to go 13 of 28 from the field.
The pair combined to go 23 of 25 on free throws, with Irving having the two misses, as the Mavericks finished 5-2 on a seven-game homestand, the longest of the season.
“Timmy was huge for us. He made some big shots,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. “But Kai was steady the whole afternoon. He's been doing this on this homestand. He's leading us, and guys are following.”
The only other double-figure scorer for Dallas was Josh Green, who finished with 13 and a had a 3 for a six-point Dallas lead with 1:27 remaining before the Pelicans scored the next five points.
Dallas rookie Dereck Lively II returned from a five-game absence with 12 rebounds, including seven offensive boards. Three of those were in the fourth quarter on a pair of possessions that ended with Hardaway 3s.
Pelicans: A four-game homestand starts Wednesday against Charlotte.
Mavericks: At the Lakers on Wednesday in the first of two on the West Coast.
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