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The Dallas Mavericks had some unfortunate flashbacks late in Thursday's win over the Philadelphia 76ers. On Sunday, they blew a 27-point lead at home to the Los Angeles Lakers, and after building a 25-point advantage on Philadelphia Thursday, they watched the 76ers bench whittle it down to just four points. Enter Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic.

With the score at 110-106 with roughly nine minutes remaining, Irving and Doncic scored 18 of the 23 points Dallas would score the rest of the way and assisted on the remaining five. For the game, they combined to put up 82 points in a stellar offensive showing, and just as impressively, their 18 combined assists helped the Mavericks sink 25 of their 48 3-point attempts in one of their best offensive performances of the season. In the end, Doncic (42 points) and Irving (40) became the first pair of Mavericks teammates to each score 40 points in the same game.

"He's been great since the trade obviously," Doncic said of his newfound partnership with Irving after the game. "Like I said, we've gotta get stops. Playing with Kai is so easy, it really helps me a lot." 

This is, ultimately, what the Mavericks envisioned when they added Irving. Doncic is capable of carrying an enormous offensive load, but in doing so, he tires out throughout games and seasons. He's still the primary ball-handler for Dallas, but with Irving in place, he not only has the sort of support on the court that prevents defenses from doubling him, but has a teammate capable of leading the team for lengthy stretches of the game. By taking turns at the helm, both remained fresh enough for their stellar fourth quarter.

There were and are still kinks to be worked out here. Dallas is just 2-3 since acquiring Irving, and their defense has been miserable since the trade. But in five games together, lineups featuring Doncic and Irving are scoring 123.1 points per 100 possessions, which would clear any team in the NBA over the full season. Just as importantly, they're scoring a blistering 127.8 points per 100 possessions with Doncic out since landing Irving compared to 107.9 before the deal.

We're still dealing with tiny samples here, and it's hard to take too much from a single game, but Thursday's victory was proof of concept for the sort of team the Mavericks want to be. They stared down one of the fiercest opponents the NBA has to offer and attacked them with an offense so dominant that their defensive shortcomings were almost irrelevant. When Doncic and Irving play like this, the Mavericks can beat anyone.