The Dallas Mavericks avoided a tricky loss to the Sixers and picked up their third straight win as the continue to push for the playoffs.
Dallas is coming off their best two game stretch of the season as they beat the Spurs and Cavaliers on back-to-back nights on Sunday and Monday. Riding their momentum, Philadelphia presented a trap game opportunity, but a trap that Dallas didn’t completely fall into.
The Mavericks were still without J.J. Barea and starting point guard Deron Williams due to injury. Yogi Ferrell played (and started) in his third straight game during his current 10-day contract.
For Philadelphia, their rookie sensation in Joel Embiid sat out again for his knee contusion as he stayed behind in Philadelphia for treatment. The Sixers were also without Robert Covington.
I feel like I have to mention that the starters for Philadelphia were Jahlil Okafor, T.J. McConnell, Ersan Ilyasova, Nik Stauskas, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.
The game didn’t start like the Mavericks wanted as the Sixers took an early lead and held on to it the majority of the quarter. Dirk Nowitzki started off cold and the Mavs committed four turnovers as the Sixers took a three-point lead into the third quarter. Ersan Ilyasova had seven first quarter points to lead Philly.
The second quarter was a similar story to the first as half way through the quarter the Mavs were shooting 36% from the field compared to Philly’s 50%. Both Curry and Barnes were in double figures before the end of the half as they led the Mavs to a three-point lead going into the third quarter.
The Mavs used the third to start to increase their lead as Curry continued to lead the offense. The quarter was highlighted by big minutes from Salah Mejri, three pointers by Devin Harris and a Yogi Ferrell hustle play into the crowd that got the arena on their feet. Dallas took a 81-69 lead into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was the Salah Mejri show as the big man had highlight after highlight on both ends of the floor. He had a MJ-like hand (yeah, I went there) switch in mid-air, isolation plays down the paint and more as the Mavs ran away with it in the fourth. The Mavericks won the game 113-95.
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At the beginning of the game, Philly was making it a point to go inside to Jahlil Okafor on Dirk Nowitzki. Carlisle decided to counter that throughout the game with putting Salah Mejri on Okafor in the paint and Mejri held his own.
Mejri’s presence in the paint on both ends of the ball was a game changer. The deciding stat line was his 16 points and 17 rebounds.
Player of the Game
I would probably give it to Mejri, but Seth Curry deserves some love from tonight’s game.
Curry was one of the few constant scoring threats from the beginning and led the team in scoring with 22 points and six assists. Harrison Barnes added 15 points.
Okafor led the Sixers with 16 points on the night.
Dallas will ride their three game winning streak into Portland on Friday.