The public at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia was spoiled on this Friday evening since Luka Doncic arrived in town. The Slovenian and his Mavericks, on a good series of three straight wins, visited Joel Embiid and the solid Sixers to try to sign a 4th success in as many matches.
And in the first half, we witness a very disputed meeting, with a lot of commitment on both sides. On the Mavericks side, it was first Jalen Brunson who led the discussion during the first quarter, with 7 points scored without missing a single shot. The mark for the 76ers is more balanced: after the first 12 minutes, the holders have scored 23 of the team’s 26 points (27-26 Dallas). The second quarter marks the awakening of the bosses: Luka Doncic (13 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists at halftime) heats up on the Dallas side, when the inevitable tandem Joel Embiid – James Harden (21 points for the first , 11 for second) is starting to do pick-and-roll damage for the 76ers.
After a successful first half offensively for both teams, the 76ers are in the lead with a short lead, after a winning siren shot from Joel Embiid (58-53).
During the second period, the 76ers will quickly make the difference. Despite a rough third quarter at the start, like Joel Embiid who made a series of small errors, Philly accelerated and ended the quarter with a 14-8, including three winning shots by Georges Niang, to bring the gap to +8 (84-78) after 36 minutes. Despite Jalen Brunson’s continued efforts, Dallas is struggling. Because Luka Doncic has been in great difficulty since returning from the locker room, and the attack lacks fluidity. At the start of the last act, James Harden drove the point home for good, with two devastating “step-backs” behind the arc to take the 76ers to +18 (96-78).
Despite the efforts of Spencer Dinwiddie at the end of the game, who continues to fight for the honor, Dallas is far too short and logically bows on the floor of the 76ers (111-101), who put an end to the winning streak of the 76ers. Texans.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– The 76ers’ outdoor address, key to their success. Authors of 16 award-winning shots, the 76ers took place on offense. Assured each evening of being carried by the duo James Harden – Joel Embiid, Philly on the other hand needs its external address to pass a course, especially when the playoffs come. Tonight was a glimpse of the club’s attacking power when the shooters that revolve around the Harden – Embiid axis punish from afar. Note the 4/7 by Georges Niang, or the slightly more unexpected 2/2 by Matisse Thybulle.
– A brief appearance for Frank Ntilikina. The French leader, who had spent 9 of Dallas’ last 11 games benched the entire game, was entitled to a few small crumbs against the 76ers: in 9 minutes, he had time to score a shot at 3- points, but also to grab 2 rebounds and provide 2 assists.
✅ Joel Embiid. The evenings follow one another and look alike for the “Process”, which at each meeting cements its case for the MVP race a little more. Facing Dwight Powell, the Cameroonian pivot has again made a carnage in attack: 32 points at 11/20 on shots (and 8/9 on free throws), and he adds 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals. When Joel Embiid dominates that far in the paint, and the outsides plant their outside shots, the 76ers are very, very hard to stop.
✅ James Harden. In diesel mode, the 76ers bandleader ramped up gradually. Rather discreet during the first period, he moved upmarket after the break, notably talking about the effectiveness of his relationship with Joel Embiid on “pick-and-roll” in the third quarter, then his “step-back to put the Mavericks out for good in the fourth quarter. “The Beard” finished with 24 points (6/14 on shots, 9/10 on free throws), 7 rebounds, 12 assists and 2 steals.
✅ Jalen Brunson. The former Villanova player took responsibility in attack, while Luka Doncic was struggling. In rhythm from the first minutes of the match, he delivered a constant effort and signed a very good performance (24 points at 10/14, 3 rebounds and 4 assists), despite the defeat.
✅ 76ers power forwards. Each in their own way, Tobias Harris and Georges Niang were invaluable in building this Philly victory. The first, confined to movements away from the ball since the arrival of James Harden, excelled in this role: taking advantage of the shifts created by the former Rocket, he scored 14 points (including 2/3 at 3-points), and adds 4 rebounds and 3 assists. For his part, Georges Niang did what he does best: shoot behind the arc. He finished the match with 12 points, in the form of 4 3-point shots. When the two men get in tune with the collective and mark outside shots, the attack of the 76ers changes dimension.
⛔️ Luka Doncic. Tough evening for the “Wonderboy”. Never really in rhythm, and above all well defended collectively by Philly throughout the match, Luka Doncic forced himself to take shots that were not always obvious (5/20), and delivered a disappointing performance, despite… a double-double (17 points and 10 assists). In addition to his clumsiness, it is especially the 6 loss of balls that tarnish the table.
Philadelphia (43-26): Sunday, reception of the Raptors
Dallas (43-27) : back-to-back tonight in Charlotte