After starting the season 14-0 at Wells Fargo Center, the Philadelphia Sixers have lost back to back games at home. Despite the Dallas Mavericks not having superstar point guard Luka Doncic, they were still able to overcome the Sixers in a 117-98 on Friday night. Philadelphia has now lost three straight games for the second time this season.
The first quarter was all over the place. Both teams had their fair shares of runs. The summary of the first could be the turnovers, which came in bunches on both sides. The Mavericks, who average 13 a game, had five turnovers in the first quarter and 11 in the first half. During their stretch of turnovers, the Sixers were able to stretch a lead to eight points, holding the Mavs to 2-8 from the floor.
Then, cue the Mavericks run. Led by Tim Hardaway, the Mavericks started streaking. As the Sixers turned the ball over seven times in the opening quarter, Hardaway went a perfect 5-5 from deep en route to 19 first-quarter points.
Despite leading by as many as eight points, the Mavericks shot out of a cannon to a 32-15 run to end the first quarter.
In more positive news, Joel Embiid scored 12 of his own first-quarter points. Former Philly legend Boban Marjanovic checked into the game with a few minutes remaining and received a standing ovation.
The story of the first 12 minutes, however, was symbolized by Raul Neto trying to force an awful pass up the middle, which led to a buzzer-beating three by Ryan Broekhoff.
After one, Mavs led 35-28.
Kristaps Porzingis began to take over in the absence of Luka Doncic. He heated up early in the quarter, making three-ball after three-ball. This ultimately led to a 13-0 Mavs run, as the Sixers went into a five-minute scoring drought mid-quarter. Mavericks wound up leading by as many as 17 in the quarter.
Al Horford picked up two quick fouls in the quarter, so enter Norvel Pelle, who continued to stand his ground in the paint. Matisse Thybulle, despite being cold offensively, continues to make insane plays on defense. He is one of five NBA players that have at least 40 blocks and 20 steals total, in about 15 minutes less than the other four players on the list. Just remarkable:
However, enter the dreaded zone defense. The Sixers continued to struggle, just like in the game against the Miami Heat on Wednesday.
In order to beat a zone, three-point shooting is required, and the Sixers were cold from deep until the latter half of the quarter. This is where Joel Embiid began to take over.
Josh Richardson started running point guard as Mavs switched to a zone, Simmons started playing more aggressive but couldn’t buy a basket. Embiid scored eight points in the final two minutes of the quarter, including back-to-back threes and drawing a crucial charge on Porzingis. The big man was doing as much as he could to beat the Mavericks’ defense.
Embiid’s 20 point, 10 rebound double-double at the half, along with a 13-4 run to end the quarter, was not enough to tie things up. However, the lead was cut to six.
After one half, Mavs up 63-57.
This was the most even played quarter of the game.
The most exciting thing that happened was TREY BURKE WAS FREED!
Embiid continued to be left open because of the zone, and he kept making them pay. He moved his point total through three quarters to 29.
Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson, however, struggled mightily on the offensive end of the court. Richardson was 2-2 from the floor, however, he only had two shots through three quarters. Sixers shooting 4-13 in third.
Ben Simmons looked good passing the ball tonight, picking up a handful of his assists in the third quarter alone. Along with this, his aggressive and scrappy play led to more Maverick turnovers and offensive opportunities for the Sixers’ offense.
Overall, however, the Mavs continued to keep a higher tempo over the Sixers. After three quarters, the Sixers simply could not buy a basket through three quarters.
After three, Mavericks up 88-77.
Again, this was a very slow quarter for the Sixers to start. The need to piece together a scoring run was needed and the Sixers were down as many as 12 in the fourth quarter.
They began to play press defense and force the Mavericks to move the ball. This forced numerous turnovers and a couple of shot clock violations, and Philadelphia began to make shots on the other end of the floor. Embiid continued to dominate the glass, collecting rebound after rebound leading to his game-high 17 boards.
For the Mavericks, Seth Curry did not take a single shot in the first half. Soon enough, he scored an easy 11 points in the second half to propel the Mavs and help them keep their difference.
The story of the game was the Sixers shot 10 for 32 overall from beyond the arc, versus the Mavs 14 for 33, as well as their 42% field goal percentage vs. Dallas’ 52%.
The Mavericks dominated all four quarters, and, with the exception of Embiid, wanted this game more than Philadelphia. Embiid finished this game with 33 points and 17 rebounds.
As boo’s echoed around Wells Fargo Center, the Mavericks won 117-98.
Friday night was the first game of a back-to-back at home for the Sixers. They seek revenge against the Washington Wizards after dropping an awful game back on December 5th. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Wells Fargo Center.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports