Sixers vs. Mavericks
Wesley Matthews scores 21 and Dirk Nowitzki adds 18 as the Mavericks defeat the 76ers, 129-103.
Final: Mavs 129, 76ers 103
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
Dirk Nowitzki sank five three-pointers in this game, the 24th such contest of his career. As a team, Dallas collectively carried over its long-range success from Friday night and before the All-Star break, draining 10+ 3s in the fourth consecutive game. It’s the 10th time the franchise has put together a streak of at least four games. The franchise-record run is 11.
Dallas scored 66 points in the first half, the team’s highest-scoring half all season. Previously, the Mavs had scored 65 three times, each occurrence coming in the second act. Dallas has occasionally battled slow starts this season, including in Friday’s overtime loss in Orlando, but that certainly was not an issue against Philly. The success carried over into the second half, as well, as the Mavs put up 95 points through three quarters, the most the team has tallied through three frames since last April, when Dallas scored 101 against OKC en route to a wild 135-131 win.
The Sixers got off to a hot start in this game, hitting 11 of their 14 two-point attempts in the first quarter en route to scoring 1.20 points per possession in the frame. Most of that efficient production came from rookie Jahlil Okafor, who scored 18 points in the first alone on 8-of-9 shooting.
Wesley Matthews put on one of his finest performances of the season, surpassing the 20-point plateau for the first time since Jan. 5. More important than how many points he scored, however, is the means by which he scored them. Matthews was effective not only from beyond the arc, but also in post-up and mid-range situations, using his height and strength to his advantage against smaller or weaker defenders. It was only a matter of time before Matthews broke out and had a huge game, and hopefully there are plenty more to come.
After missing a few key free throws late in regulation Friday against Orlando, the Mavs bounced back strong in this game, hitting 34 of 36 from the charity stripe, the fourth-best performance from the stripe in team history in a game in which Dallas attempted at least 30. The old “free throws are free” joke isn’t very funny, because they’re actually really hard, but the Mavs’ roster is loaded with guys who are capable of knocking those shots down. You don’t want to leave any points on the floor, and the best way to ensure you don’t is to capitalize on every relatively easy opportunity you can get. That starts with free throws.
The Sixers made a big push in the early second quarter, turning a 28-26 deficit into a lead which stretched to as big as nine, at 38-29. But the Dallas lineup of J.J. Barea, Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews, Chandler Parsons, and Zaza Pachulia brought the Mavs back into the game and ultimately propelled the club in front, outscoring Philadelphia by 10 points in the second when that unit was on the floor. Not only was Parsons the 4 in a small-ball group, but Dallas spaced the floor with shooters and guys who can attack the paint. That versatility against a Philly unit with no true rim protector proved to be key to that Dallas push.
Nowitzki reached the 29,000-point milestone tonight, becoming just the sixth player to do so. At his current pace, Dirk will reach the 30,000 marker some time next season. It goes without saying that he’s one of the most prolific scorers in league history, and this is just another impressive line on his résumé.
The Mavs (30-27) play the Oklahoma City Thunder (40-16) Wednesday at American Airlines Center. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. Central.