Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving make their debut as Dallas teammates

Image for article titled Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving lead a duel in the first game as teammates

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Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving they made their court debut as a duo on Saturday night in Sacramento. The two combined for 55 points, or 22 of 41 from the field, in the overtime loss, 133-128. De’Aaron Fox entered the fourth quarter with 10 points and finished with 36, getting wherever he wanted on the court with the Mavericks off balance behind him, conserving the air.

Kings backup announcer Kyle Draper kept screaming that the score was Sacramento’s biggest win of the year, but every W in that building feels like the biggest win of the year. When fans weren’t chanting “MVP” on Fox, they were praying “Light the beam.” It was one of the best atmospheres for a random home game in February that I can remember seeing in a long time, and it’s a reminder of how damn hard it is to play there when the crowd is engaged.

Excuse me, I’ll get to Doncic and Irving in a second. I’m not done rambling around the Golden 1 Center yet. The Kings are in third place with 26 games to go, two games ahead of Dallas, and have been the third most consistent team in the West.

It’s a young group — Fox is just 25 — and who knows if they’ll be able to hold up against Phoenix or Dallas after the great trades they made at the deadline, but if Sacramento has home court in the first round, watch out. Some unsuspecting opponent will find themselves in a fight and put too much energy into it early in the playoffs.

Dončić-Irving make their debut together

While Luka and Kyrie have had no problem exchanging attacks as one player, I am worried about the rest of the team. The two combined to hit 41 shots; the other nine Mavs who got minutes attempted 50 shots between them. It was like when you get involved in a huddle and the two best players on the team only pass each other.

There were moments of individual brilliance, as always happens with Doncic and Irving. The match went into overtime for a reason: it was competitive. Irving had a drive where he went right, turned back left in the paint and leaned in a left floater as he fell off the bucket. It was the type of shot that makes you want to break your controller when it goes against you in NBA2K.

At some point between now and the playoffs, the two will combine for a ridiculous scoring output, like 85-90 points in a 143-122 blowout. The scoring eruption will be hosted by Sportscenter, and the talking heads will use it to validate Mark Cuban’s gamble.

We’ll ignore the fact that they allowed 122 because defense is optional during the regular season. Dwight Powell or 35-year-old Javale McGee are Dallas’ only centers/edge defenders on the roster, and rebounding will remain a constant problem.

I haven’t even mentioned the inevitable Irving headache. “Don’t mention” also seems to be Dallas’ approach,

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