It’s a good thing for the Dallas Mavericks that they faced a glorified D-League team Friday night.
It isn’t often that an NBA team can commit 17 turnovers in the first half and live to tell about it, much less have a halftime lead.
Actually, it’s extremely rare for an NBA team to commit 17 turnovers in the first half, period. Dallas became the first team this season to accomplish that dubious feat.
The Mavs still managed to cruise to a 124-112 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, overcoming their sloppy ballhandling with outstanding shooting and an awful opponent.
"We expected it to be 48 minutes of hell with them chasing the ball all over the place," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. "We knew that ball security was going to be an important part of it. The first half was an unmitigated failure in that area. The second half [was] much better. We were able to get some separation and finish it."
The Mavs finished with 25 turnovers, their most since a Dec. 2012 double-overtime loss to the Boston Celtics. They could get away with that against a short-handed Sixers team, which had only eight available players while extending its losing streak to 10 straight games a night after trading away two starters.
To put in perspective how unusual this was, the Mavs' last victory in which they committed at least 25 turnovers occurred in Nov. 1994, and that win over the Chicago Bulls came in overtime. You have to go all the way back to a Dec. 1988 win over the San Antonio Spurs to find a 25-plus-turnover win for the Mavs in regulation.
Then again, it’s pretty rare to shoot 62.3 percent, as the Mavs did against the Sixers, with the basket looking especially big for forwards Dirk Nowitzki (25 points, 9-of-12 shooting) and Shawn Marion (22 points, 11-of-14 shooting). Dallas hadn’t shot so well in a game since a Nov. 2009 rout of the Houston Rockets.
And it’s been more than a decade since the Mavs racked up at least 39 assists, as they did against Philadelphia, led by point guard Jose Calderon’s 10 dimes. That’s the most in a game by the Mavs since a Nov. 2003 win over the New Orleans Hornets.
"When we were actually able to get into our set in the half court," Marion said on the Mavs’ television broadcast, "we were able to do anything we wanted to do."
That tends to happen against the Sixers, the league’s last-ranked defensive team.