Rapid Reaction: Mavs 82, 76ers 75
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.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.