Sixers cruise to dominant victory over Mavs thanks to strong bench effort

Ben Simmons
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 05: Philadelphia 76ers Guard Ben Simmons (25) looks on during warmups before the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 05, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Sixers cruised to an easy victory against the Dallas Mavericks by a score of 111-97. Led by their defensive intensity and strong bench performances, the game was seemingly never in doubt.

First Half

The Sixers came out of the gates looking sluggish. Despite Boban Marjanovic getting the start for the Mavs, Joel Embiid scored just 3 first-quarter points.

Dwight Howard was a surprising bright spot, making his presence felt almost instantly. He led the team in scoring for a good portion of the half, with 8 points off the bench. Perhaps even more surprising was the 0 first-half fouls on Dwight.

Led by Howard, the second unit provided a necessary spark and the Sixers carried this momentum when the starters returned.

Ben Simmons had one of his most impressive defensive performances to date – which is an extremely high bar to reach. Simmons shined in the first half especially, looking consistently like the best player on the court.

At the half Simmons had 11 points, 5 assists, a block, and a steal and played a major role in Doncic’s early struggles. Joel Embiid also caught fire late and went into the half with 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists.

A late 17-2 run by the Sixers secured them a comfortable lead toward the end of the half and they led by a score of 59-43 at the break.

Second Half

The Sixers continued to carry this momentum into the second half and made sure the game would not become close again.

At first, it seemed to be another game where the Sixers let their opponent linger around without fully putting them away. However, it was the bench that once again provided the spark and the game never became close again.

When talking about the bench, Doc Rivers put it postgame that, “I thought their energy changed the game for us.” The burst the second unit provided allowed the team to rest all their starters the entire 4th quarter and it never became a close contest again.

When the final buzzer rang, the Sixers penciled in a win by the score of 111-97. Dwight Howard deserves a ton of credit for this game as he continued on his solid first half and ended with 14 points to go along with 8 rebounds.

Sixers Overall Outlook

This was a great win for the Sixers. The team seemed to play with an attitude and won due to their defensive intensity and the play of their bench.

Coming into this game, the Mavericks averaged 12.2 turnovers per game- which ranked 3rd best in the league. Led by the pestering defense of Ben Simmons, the Sixers forced the Mavs to cough the ball up 22 times tonight.

The Mavs are also regarded as a fairly talented offensive team, scoring 112.4 points per game. In this matchup, they were held to just 97 points and scored just 68 points throughout the first 3 quarters when the Sixers still had in their regular rotation. Ben Simmons once again put up a DPOY worthy game and held Luka Doncic to just 19 points.

The bench has rightfully been the subject of a lot of discussion lately, but they proved to be up to par in this one. Shake Milton has breathed some life back into the second unit since his return, and had one of his best performances as a passer in this matchup, tallying 6 assists.

Although the Mavericks have underperformed greatly this year and now sit below .500, this still should be looked at as a major win for the Sixers. Ben Simmons put it after the game that this was the best defensive game the team has played all year. It is a scary sight for the league if this team continues to build on its defensive ability and it seems like that it is the exact goal.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire