Recap: Sixers ruin Brand's return to Philly, hold off charging Mavs late
Earl K. Sneed reports from Philadelphia, where the Dallas Mavericks fell to 2-5 on the road this season after eight turnovers in the fourth quarter and late-game miscues ruined Elton Brand's return to face his former team.
Recap: Mavericks 98 at 76ers 100
Sixers ruin Brand's return to Philly, hold off charging Mavs late
PHILADELPHIA — After suffering their most lopsided defeat of the young season, the Dallas Mavericks had just a few days to collective themselves before returning to the hardwood Tuesday night.
And with the bitter taste of Saturday night’s 115-89 loss at home to the Los Angeles Lakers still lingering in their mouths, the Mavericks faced the daunting task of back-to-back games on the road in Philadelphia and Chicago while trying to improve upon a 2-4 mark away from the American Airlines Center.
“Road games are always going to be more challenging and we can’t build any excuses into when we have bad games. We’ve gotta look at it, we’ve gotta own it and we’ve gotta get better with it,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle admitted after entering the Wells Fargo Center for Tuesday night’s date with the Philadelphia 76ers. “You know, the things that went haywire the other night against L.A. we’ve gotta do much better tonight … and back-to-backs on the road in the NBA are tough no matter what. There’s no getting around that.”
The coach then made a change to his starting lineup, using his seventh different first unit this season. Still, the Mavericks (7-8) were not able to spit the bitter taste of the loss to L.A. out of their mouths, suffering a heart-breaking 100-98 defeat to begin their back-to-back on a sour note.
“To come up short like that, it hurts. That’s tough,” four-time All-Star Shawn Marion simply said of the loss seemingly still in disbelief.
Inserting third-year guard Dominique Jones and rookie forward Jae Crowder into the first unit alongside leading scorer O.J. Mayo, Marion and center Chris Kaman, Carlisle looked for his team to get off to a quick start. But, with Sixers swingman Jason Richardson catching fire early, the new-look Mavs’ lineup would find itself down 13-4 out of the gates, forcing Carlisle to call timeout to regroup with 9:23 left in the opening period.
And with the home squad swishing in its first seven shots of the night, it would take every bit of Kaman’s nine points and a 21-6 run to gain the lead before taking a 31-28 edge into the second stanza.
After being removed from the starting lineup for the first time this season, point guard Darren Collison took control of the game alongside fellow reserves Vince Carter and Elton Brand as the second quarter got underway.
“My teammates stood by me and I just wanted to come in the game and show [Carlisle] that I’m a starter in this league. But I also wanted to make it a point that it's not about me, it’s about the team and I really just want to focus on winning. But there's lessons to be learned from it,” Collison said.
“I love the way he played,” Carlisle said while summing up Collison’s night. “He impacted the game immediately with quickness and energy, so I thought he was terrific. … He’s our starting point guard but tonight he came off the bench. I mean, Jason Terry was our starting 2-guard but he came off the bench for two years, so it’s not that big a deal. The big deal is we’ve got to stop doing the big things that are making us shoot ourselves in the foot. I mean, that’s where it’s at.”
Meanwhile, Brand began to dominate the interior in his first game back in Philly since his amnesty release this offseason. The bench then lifted the Mavericks to a 56-53 edge at the midway mark after leading by as much as nine in the first half.
Led by 13 points by Kaman and 12 points by Brand on a combined 10-of-16 shooting, the Mavericks’ 46 percent from the field bettered the Sixers’ 43.2 percent through two quarters. And led by Collison’s four steals, the Mavs also converted Philly’s nine first-half turnovers into 19 points.
With neither able to separate through most of the third period, the two teams remained evenly knotted on the scoreboard. Meanwhile, Marion did his best to match Sixers forward Evan Turner shot for shot, while Kaman and Brand continued to give the Mavs a lift inside.
Collison’s running 3 as time expired in the period was then ruled after the buzzer, dropping the Mavs to a 75-73 deficit entering the fourth quarter.
And that's when it all fell apart for the Mavericks.
Connecting on a jumper to open up the final 12 minutes of play, Collison immediately made up for the shot to end the previous period. But an inability to protect the ball would lead to the Mavs on the downside on the scoreboard, committing seven turnovers in first seven minutes of the final period after just seven giveaways through the first three quarters.
“We had control of the game it seemed like and then three turnovers in a row, a timeout and then three more turnovers in a row. You can’t beat a team like that,” Brand confessed.
“They were untimely to say the least,” Carlisle added after the turnovers seemingly changed the momentum of the game, “and completely out of character to how we had played to that point. We’ve gotta eliminate those. And right now, in games like this, it’s about how you manage mistakes, and we’ve got to do things simple and we’ve got to do things the right way.”
Carlisle was then forced to call timeout after Jrue Holiday’s jumper over his UCLA teammate, Collison, left the Mavs in a 95-86 hole with just 3:13 remaining. But the Mavs refused to go away quietly, however, climbing to within two with 3-pointers by Mayo and Carter before Kaman’s score inside.
Still, the visiting team would squander its last opportunity after inbounding the ball with 17.4 ticks left, as Mayo earned a trip to the line but missed the first of two free throws with 2.7 seconds remaining before being forced to miss as a long rebound ended up in Crowder’s hands for a 3 at the buzzer that bounced off the rim to end the game.
“I love the effort. I thought we fought our [tails] off, hung in to give ourselves a chance at the end and then we got unlucky when O.J. missed the first free throw,” the coach said of the dramatic conclusion to the game.
Leading the Mavs in defeat was Kaman, who scored 20 points as six players reached double figures. Meanwhile, Brand — who also snatched down eight boards on the night — returned to Philadelphia and matched Marion’s 17 points, while Carter pitched in 15 points, Collison added 12 points — while dishing out six assists and tying his career-high with five steals — and Mayo registered 11 points.
Turner led four Sixers (9-6) in double figures with 22 points, while Philadelphia’s 46.7 percent shooting was slightly better than Dallas’ 45.7 percent from the field.
In addition to a 40-37 rebounding edge, the Sixers also forced eight Dallas turnovers in the fourth quarter to bring the Mavs’ total to 15 on the night. And with Mayo’s final two misses, the Mavs finished 19-of-22 at the free throw line.
“Obviously I’m pretty mad and upset, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Just gotta make it,” Mayo said of the final sequence.
He added: “That was a winnable game. Hats off to them, they played well. They made plays when it was time to make plays, but a game like that, that’s one we’ve gotta have no matter how you look at it. Obviously you’d like to rewind it and get some of those plays back, but hats off to them, they got the win and we got a loss. So, we’ve gotta have a short memory, and the great thing about this league is there’s another game tomorrow. So, we’ve gotta get ready to gear up for Chicago.”
The Mavs will now conclude their back-to-back Wednesday night, touching down in Chicago for a battle against the Derrick Rose-less Bulls. The game will air locally at 7 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest.