The Dallas Mavericks pulled away for a 124-112 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night at Wells Fargo Center.
How it happened: The Mavs forced themselves to work harder than they should have to against a tanking team with only eight available players.
The Mavs were never in any serious jeopardy of becoming the first team to lose to the Sixers in February, but Dallas’ 25 turnovers allowed Philadelphia to hang around a lot longer than such an inferior foe should against a playoff-caliber team.
When the Mavs managed to protect the ball, scoring came extremely easy. Dallas, led by its starting-forward tandem, shot 62.3 percent from the floor.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 25 points in 27 minutes, going 9-of-12 from the floor and 5-of-7 from 3-point range. Shawn Marion scored 22 points on 11-of-14 shooting. DeJuan Blair added 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting off the bench.
The Sixers, whose focus all season has been building for the future, were especially short-handed after trading away two starters before Thursday’s deadline. Philadelphia got big games from two of its three remaining starters, with Thaddeus Young's putting up 30 points, 13 rebounds, seven steals and six assists and Michael Carter-Williams's going for 25 points and six assists.
But the Sixers need a whole lot of help to get a win, much more than the sloppy Mavs gave them in this game.
What it means: It wasn’t an impressive win, but it counts the same for the Mavs, who remain in eighth place in the Western Conference. The Mavs (33-23) improved to 15-14 away from the American Airlines Center, giving them a winning road record for the first time this season. The Sixers’ 10th consecutive loss dropped their record to 15-41, crushing their hopes of having a winning season.
Play of the game: Nowitzki knocked down a 3-pointer from the right wing at the third-quarter buzzer to stretch the Mavs’ lead back to 12. After getting a defensive rebound with 3.8 seconds on the clock, Devin Harris pushed the ball up the floor and fired a cross-court pass to Nowitzki, who caught and released just in time to get the shot off before the buzzer. That bucket made Nowitzki 5-of-5 from 3-point range in the game.
Stat of the night: The Mavs committed 17 turnovers by halftime, the most by any team in a first half this season.