Dallas Mavericks star Kyrie Irving returned to the lineup with a bang Friday night, scoring 38 points and assisting on the game-winning 3 at the buzzer in a 111-110 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Irving had missed the three previous games because of right foot soreness, with the Mavericks going 1-2 in his absence.
With the Mavericks trailing by two in the closing seconds, Irving took the inbounds pass and quickly drew a double-team along the perimeter before swinging the ball to a wide-open Maxi Kleber, who drained the 3 to give Dallas its second straight win.
"Knowing Ky, he wanted to go for the win," Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said about the final play. "With the double-team, he had to give the ball up. That's just trust with his teammates, and Maxi was at the right place at the right time."
With the win, the Mavericks avoided falling into a three-way tie with the Lakers and Timberwolves in the Western Conference. At 36-35, they are sixth in the standings. The Lakers are in 10th at 34-37.
Irving, who scored 13 in the final quarter, shot 14-of-23 from the field, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range. He added six rebounds and six assists in 39 minutes.
The Mavericks were without Luka Doncic for the fourth straight game because of a left hamstring injury.