After back-to-back home wins against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Boston Celtics, the Philadelphia 76ers were looking to fix some of their road woes. Going into tonight’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, the Sixers had lost four straight road games to the Orlando Magic (by one), Miami Heat (by one in overtime), Indiana Pacers (by 18), and Houston Rockets (by 10).
They were playing a Mavericks team that was playing their second game in a back-to-back after Dallas lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Much like the novel from Charles Dickens, this game was a tale of two halves.
The Sixers came out with a lot of energy – notably on the defensive end. They forced ten Mavericks turnovers in the first half and held Dallas to 20 and 21 points respectively in the first two quarters. Some of that was the defense, but the other half was the lids not being removed from the rims in the first half.
Tobias Harris had a strong first half for the Sixers scoring 15 in the first half and led by nine at the break. Defensively, the team held Luka Doncic in check by deploying multiple defensive looks at him. Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, and Matisse Thybulle all got their shots to guard him one-on-one. They used traps and double teams on him, and Doncic only had 11 points in the first 24 minutes.
Whelp, the good fortunes and good defense didn’t last forever.
The Sixers continued to play well defensively to start the second half but went ICE COLD on the offensive end. In the third quarter, you can count on one hand how many field goals the Sixers scored. (Five. They scored five field goals.) The Mavericks were over the team foul limit early, but the Sixers weren’t aggressive in getting to the line which could have offset the brutal shooting.
Dallas started to hit shots en route to an 11-23 performance in the quarter to open up a seven-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter that ballooned as the seconds ticked away, and the Mavs won by a final score of 109-91.
Philadelphia shot 37.8% from the field and 9-37 from three which led to the team’s fifth straight road loss. They are now 7-13 on the year away from the Wells Fargo Center, and their next chance for a road win comes Monday night in Indiana where they were smoked by the Pacers on New Year’s Eve.
For the Sixers, Harris finished with 20 points on 22 shots. Ben Simmons had a double/double with 11 points and 11 assists. Al Horford had 16/6/5, and Josh Richardson finished with just 16 after back-to-back 25+ point games. Doncic and Dwight Powell both had double/doubles with 19 points each. Powell had 12 rebounds. Luka had 12 assists.
This game was simply one of those “woof” games where you just want it to end.
Thank God that’s over. Back to Indiana on Monday.