Rapid Reaction: Mavs 107, 76ers 100
How it happened: O.J. Mayo and Chris Kaman made a pretty strong closing duo.
Mayo and Kaman combined to score seven consecutive baskets down the stretch. Mayo had three buckets and assisted on three of Kaman’s four field goals during the span, in which the Mavs’ lead increased from six to 11 points.
Mayo, who finished with 26 points (nine in the final frame) and a season-high eight assists, has been a crunch-time fixture for the Mavs.
Kaman, whose only post-third quarter playing time in the last five games came during overtime in Saturday’s loss to Minnesota, made a case that he belongs on the floor during closing time. He finished with 20 points, eight of which came in the final 5:26.
Big man Brandan Wright, whose minutes increased with Elton Brand (groin) unavailable, played a key role in putting the Mavs in position to close out the Sixers. Wright had six of his 10 points and five of his six rebounds in the fourth quarter before being replaced by Kaman.
Philadelphia’s Dorell Wright shot the ball well enough to give the Sixers a fighter’s chance of pulling off a crazy comeback, scoring 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, when he was 4-of-6 from 3-point range. But the Sixers never trimmed the lead to less than five points in the final minutes.
The Mavs, who lost Derek Fisher to a knee injury in the first quarter, had five players finish in double figures. Shawn Marion (14 points) and Darren Collison (12) joined Mayo, Kaman and Wright.
What it means: The Mavs snapped a season-long-tying three-game losing streak. This was pretty much a must-win with the next six teams on the Mavs’ schedule having winning records. Dallas (12-13) climbed back to within a game of .500.
Play of the game: After getting a back pick from Collison, Marion took an inbounds pass and soared for a one-handed tomahawk slam. Philadelphia center Spencer Hawes opted not to challenge at the rim, probably avoiding a prominent spot in the poster. The bucket stretched the Mavs’ lead to six with 4:05 remaining in the second quarter
Stat of the night: Marion joined the 16,000-point club early in the game, becoming the 95th player in NBA history to hit the milestone. The next member will probably be Elton Brand, who has 15,880 points in his career.
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