Rapid Reaction: Mavs 82, 76ers 75
February, 17, 2012
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com
How it happened: Charles Barkley might want to ask his old friends in Philadelphia for an update on Dirk Nowitzki versus Father Time.
Dirk’s dominance and stifling defense fueled the Mavericks’ most impressive comeback win since their NBA championship run.
Nowitzki recovered from a horrible first half (2-of-11 shooting) to light up the 76ers for 24 of his 28 points after the break. Nowitzki single-handedly scored as many points as the 76ers in the second half.
The Mavs took the lead with a 14-0 run in the third, sparked by 10 points and an assist from Nowitzki, and never trailed again. The Sixers pulled even a couple of times, including with a little more than nine minutes remaining in the game, but Jason Kidd (nine points, eight rebounds, nine assists) keyed a 9-0 run to put the Mavs in position to close.
Nowitzki’s brilliance will get the majority of attention, but the Mavs couldn’t come back to beat a quality Eastern Conference team on the road without the dirty work on the defensive end, which Dallas has been doing consistently since its 0-3 start. Philadelphia shot only 21.4 percent (9-of-42) from the floor in the second half.
What it means: The Mavs have won six consecutive games for the first time all season. They’ll head to Madison Square Garden for a Sunday matinee against Jeremy Lin and the Knicks as one of the NBA’s hottest teams.
Play of the game: Nowitzki knocked down a transition 3 in traffic from the top of the arc to give the Mavs a 54-53 lead, their first since the early stages of the game. When he hits that kind of shot -- and shows no hesitation to launch it -- you know the big German is in a groove.
Stat of the night: The Mavericks, who trailed by as many as 15 in the first half, had not won a game this season in which they trailed by double digits. They hadn’t won a road game in which they trailed by more than five points.