Recap: Short-handed Mavs end skid with home W over Sixers
Earl K. Sneed recaps the Dallas Mavericks' home victory Tuesday night over the Philadelphia 76ers, as the Mavs overcame injuries to two of their veterans to end a three-game losing streak.
Recap: 76ers 100 at Mavericks 107
Short-handed Mavs end skid with home W over Sixers
Tuesday night, the banged-up Mavericks took another blow.
Already suiting up for a 25th time to start the season without 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki (right knee surgery) and entering Tuesday night’s matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers after a winless three-game road trip, the Mavericks were further handicapped when it was determined that veteran big man Elton Brand would not be able to face his former team due with a groin injury.
The Mavs would then lose a second veteran leader early into the night. Still, the short-handed Mavericks (12-13) would find a way to bring their three-game skid to an end, avenging a 100-98 road loss in Philly on Nov. 27 with a hard-fought 107-100 victory on the American Airlines Center hardwood.
“It was really important. Obviously we didn’t have a great road trip, so for us to come back here at home, you know, we’ve got to protect our home court and get a win,” leading scorer O.J. Mayo said after the much-needed victory.
He added: “We knew we had to pick it up. We knew we were going to be a couple guys short, two of our guys that bring the physical force for our team … and we just decided to pick up the pace, understand we’re all that we’ve got right now and we needed to get this win.”
Originally believing that point guard Derek Fisher would also be on the mend with the flu, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was pleasantly surprised when the 38-year-old was about to remain in the first unit at the lead guard spot. The organization then honored long-time season-ticket holder Fisher Floyd with a pregame tribute after his sudden passing last week, before Carlisle later dedicated the win to his memory by wearing the same tie he sported during the Mavericks' Game 6 championship-clinching win in Miami on June 12, 2011.
Remaining in the starting lineup, Fisher scored the Mavs’ first basket of the night. Meanwhile, the 76ers played a third straight game without point guard Jrue Holiday due to a left foot injury.
With Fisher at the point, the home team opened up the game on an 11-2 run, but would suffer another setback when the floor general went down holding his right knee at the 6:51 mark of the opening period after landing awkwardly following a block on his jumper attempt by Evan Turner.
“We don’t believe it’s serious,” Carlisle later said of injury to his starting point guard. “It’s believed to be, believed by me, to be a strained or sprained patellar tendon, but he’ll have an MRI tomorrow to determine the severity of it. But he’s walking and stuff, so at this point it doesn’t look like a serious situation.”
Still, with four-time All-Star Shawn Marion leading the way after Fisher was ruled doubtful to return with a strained right knee, the Mavs took a 28-23 advantage into the second period.
Dividing the point guard duties between reserves Darren Collison and Dominique Jones, the Mavericks tried to gain some separation as the second stanza got underway. But after the Sixers (12-13) gained a brief edge the two teams would remain evenly knotted through most of the period. And it would take a thunderous slam by Marion to elevate the Mavs to a 57-52 halftime lead.
With 10 points apiece coming from Marion, Mayo and center Chris Kaman on a combined 12-of-19 shooting, the Mavericks outshot the Sixers through two quarters of play, 54.1 percent to 46.3 percent. The Mavs also overcame Philadelphia’s 20-16 rebounding edge with a 28-16 margin in points in the paint.
Starting the second half at the point in place of Fisher, it wouldn’t take Collison long to become the fourth Mav in double figures early in the third quarter. But after seemingly solving their turnover issues with just four giveaways through the first 24 minutes of action, the Mavericks would become careless with the ball at the beginning of the third.
But an aggressive Mayo would settle his team down, taking the Mavs into the fourth quarter with a 76-74 edge.
Handing the duties over to the reserves, Carlisle and the Mavericks began to gain some traction as Dominique Jones and backup big man Brandan Wright gave the squad a spark off the bench. The starters then returned to the floor, with Mayo feeding Kaman for a jumper to go up 10, 92-82, midway through the quarter.
The duo of Mayo and Kaman then connected again, putting the Mavs up 12, before back-to-back 3-pointers by Dorell Wright cut the Sixers’ deficit in half with 2:49 remaining. That’s when Mayo put the Sixers to bed for good, scoring on back-to-back possessions before dishing out his eighth assist to Kaman for a bank-in score to go up 102-91 with 1:36 on the clock.
“Chris was setting some good screens and we try to involve those guys in a lot of things because they’re both playing well,” Carlisle said after Mayo and Kaman carried the Dallas offense in the final 12 minutes of play. “Some of the things were probably a little more radar than they looked, but we’ve got to be in a playmaking mode all the time. We don’t want to slow it down and call plays. So, O.J.’s aggression -- especially after they cut it to six with about two and a half minutes to go -- was really key. You know, he got to the rim twice in a row, which were huge plays, and it got us back up 10. And we were able to survive it.”
The Sixers would then run out of time despite the late-game efforts of Dorell Wright, as Mayo added the finishing touches to the win at the foul line.
Leading the way with 26 points and a season-high eight assists was Mayo, who finished 8-of-12 from the floor and 2-of-2 from 3. Kaman added 20 points and seven rebounds.
“Obviously [Kaman] is a big offensive threat, so I try to use him a lot for screen-and-rolls,” Mayo said after running the two-man game to perfection with the big man down the stretch to score 17 of the team's final 19 points. “His man has to choose whether to stop the ball or get back to him and Chris has been knocking that shot down all year, so keep attacking that area.”
Meanwhile, Marion recorded 14 points and nine boards in the first unit, becoming the 95th player in NBA history to eclipse 16,000 points in his career.
“It’s a great accomplishment. It seems like every game I’m breaking another record or setting a milestone or something. I guess the older you get, the more games you play in, the more you keep doing a lot of stuff,” Marion joked of the achievement.
Off the bench, Collison added 12 points and Wright pitched in 10 points to help the Mavs finish with five in double figures.
Off the Philly bench, Wright led five Sixers in double figures with 25 points on 8-of-18 shooting and 7-of-13 from 3. But the Mavericks’ 54.2 percent from the floor bettered Philly’s 43 percent, making up for a 40-35 rebounding disadvantage with a 48-32 separation in points in the paint.
The Mavs also converted 14 Philadelphia turnovers into 17 points. And after averaging 21.7 turnovers in their previous three losses, the Mavs totaled just 11 giveaways, which led to only six points for the Sixers, while sending the Philadelphia team to a fourth straight defeat.
“After that gruesome road trip we were able to bounce back here at home and get a good win,” Marion concluded. “You know, it’s time for us to gain some momentum here and do what we need to do to start moving in the right direction.”
“We got the win, which was much-needed, and now we’re looking forward to our next opponent,” Mayo added.
The Mavericks will now return to the practice court before hosting the NBA champion Miami Heat on Thursday night. The game will air nationally on TNT at 8:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.