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Reeling Sixers hold Luka, Kyrie in check, but offense goes ice cold in loss to Mavs

The Sixers did well enough against Luka Donic and Kyrie Irving to win, but Tyrese Maxey struggled and nobody else was able to generate offense.

Dallas Mavericks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

That got out of hand in a hurry.

The Sixers fell 118-102 to the Dallas Mavericks Monday night after being outscored by 20 in the second half. Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 23 points, shooting 10-of-17 from the floor. Luka Doncic shot just 6-of-15 from the floor 19 points while Josh Green gave the Mavs 20.

Kelly Oubre Jr. led the Sixers with 19, shooting 7-of-17 from the field. Tyrese Maxey didn’t fair much better, going for 15 points shooting 6-of-16 from the floor. Tobias Harris returned to the lineup after missing last game with an illness and had 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

Here are some thoughts from the Center.

First Quarter

  • Getting trapped by Josh Green and Maxi Kleber is a lot different than getting trapped by Mikal Bridges and Nic Claxton, and Maxey had a notably easier time navigating things to start the game. He made his first three shots of the game before getting into foul trouble. Nick Nurse tried to get his third foul of the quarter overturned, but the charging call stood.
  • Another Sixer who had an easier start was Oubre, who led all scorers with nine points in the first. On top of some successful drives, he knocked down a three from the corner after going 0-of-5 from deep on Saturday.
  • Defensively, it looked like the Sixers were playing a lot less of the drop coverage that they can typically sit in with Embiid. They weren’t perfect, but they started the game rotating much better than at any point on Saturday, and the Mavs shot 38% in the quarter. Philly held a seven-point lead after one.

Second Quarter

  • It was an oddly quiet opening quarter for Harris with only four points but dishing out four assists. He got his midrange jumper in a rhythm to start the second for a couple minutes of #TobiTime.
  • In a brief departure from the norm, the Sixers took it to Dallas on the glass in the first half. They won the offensive rebounding battle 9-2, allowing them to live off of second-chance points.
  • This quarter summed up the Jaden Springer experience very well. He took a contested fadeaway that barely hit the front of the rim, spun into a double team in transition, but he made up for those with a couple of awkward looking floaters.
  • He also played lockdown defense on Doncic around the perimeter. He had three steals guarding Luka, and Doncic’s only points of the quarter came with someone else guarding him. The Sixers held a four-point lead at the break.

Third Quarter

  • It's not just that the Sixers don’t take enough threes, they really struggle to generate quality three-point attempts without Joel Embiid in the lineup. Two of their first three attempts from deep of the half were contested step-backs from Danuel House Jr., neither of them found the basket.
  • Philly was still able to to generate plenty of shots in the paint, but that would catch up with them as the quarter progressed. They only made two field goals the entire quarter outside of the paint, and the second was a Paul Reed jumper only a couple feet down behind the block.
  • Dallas’ stars were held in check for most of the night, but Kyrie Irving getting into a rhythm while the Sixers’ offense bogged down presented problems. He had 11 in the third, shooting 5-of-6 from the field, as the Mavericks took a three-point to close the quarter.

Fourth Quarter

  • It felt like the Mavs should have been up more than three as the third ended, and the Sixers needed to take advantage of that. Instead, Dallas went on a 15-3 run to start the fourth, quickly slipping into a double-digit hole.
  • Maxey has already racked up a ton of miles this season, and he has to work even harder for every basket right now. Nurse could be a bit more creative to help him with traps, but the personnel is just not there for consistent creation. They literally need him to do everything on that end of the floor at the moment.
  • The Sixers will get another chance this week at an underwhelming Western Conference team at home. They’ll welcome the Golden State Warriors to town Wednesday night for a nationally televised clash at 7:30 p.m.

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