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Mavericks vs Sixers Recap: Dallas rallies back in the fourth to defeat Philadelphia, 111-103

Dallas gets their first win in Las Vegas this year

2023 NBA Las Vegas Summer League - Philadelphia 76ers v Dallas Mavericks Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks completed a furious fourth-quarter comeback to get their first Summer League win this year, defeating the 76ers, 111-103. Jaden Hardy led the Mavericks in scoring with 24, while Dereck Lively grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. DJ Steward led the Sixers with 24 points off the bench.

The Mavericks opened the game looking sharp, getting up 5-0 very quickly. Then they promptly fell asleep and looked groggy the rest of the quarter. Dallas played porous defense, dying on screens while looking slow on rotations. On offense, the ball handling was sloppy from lead guards McKinley Wright and Hardy. Despite all that, Dallas went to the line 10 times (hitting eight) which kept them in the contest. After 10 minutes the Mavericks trailed the Sixers, 31-24.

Quarter two wasn’t much better, though the Mavericks did manage to cut into the Sixer lead repeatedly, only to give it right back up. Jaden Hardy continued to attack and while he did draw fouls, his offensive struggles were a microcosm for the Dallas offense. The Mavericks shot just 40% from the floor in the half, including a dreadful 2 of 14 from three. The Sixers took a 62-49 lead into the half.

Dallas came alive a bit in the second quarter after the Sixer lead grew to as many as 18. A nifty pick-and-roll find from Hardy to Dereck Lively resulted in a good dunk which seemed to wake the team up. A Jaden Hardy four-point play pulled Dallas within six points with just under four minutes remaining. Defensive lapses doomed the Mavericks as Philadelphia poured it on to build the lead back up to as many as 17. The Mavericks trailed entering the final quarter, 89-74.

In the last frame, the Dallas Mavericks started to play with urgency and cut the Sixer lead down to four in just over three minutes. Coach Jared Dudley opted to push the middle of the quarter with a very small lineup, all forwards and guards. Dallas twice cut the lead to two points, before AJ Lawson tied it at 100 on a pair of free throws. Braxton Key’s lay-up finally gave Dallas their first lead since the 5-0 start and Taze Moore followed it up with an alley-oop layin. The rookies in Lively and Prosper got in on the action as well, with Lively getting a put-back dunk and Prosper connecting on a drive from the corner. The Mavericks walk away with a 111-108 win.

Now, some thoughts:

Minutes, effort, and finding consistency

If you weren’t one of the lucky few to actually watch this game, what I’m going to say next might not make a lot of sense given the final score and the win: the rookies need as many minutes as they can handle so that they can learn about and find consistency on a professional level.

With the exceptions of Taze Moore and Jelly Walker, the Mavericks lacked juice for much of the game. They had trouble with handling the ball on offense and that led to some terrible defense, from everyone. All the Mavericks had rather remarkably bad first halves and third quarters, but they just kept hanging around.

Lively and OMax in particular just need minutes and they need coaching corrections where they’re making mistakes. Finding that blend in the Summer is a lot easier than the regular season, but both of these players are going to matter if the Dallas Mavericks hope to make a playoff run.

The good and the bad of the Jaden Hardy experience

Mirroring the rest of the team, Hardy had a rough go of things on the offensive end, where he had trouble finishing most of the game. He eventually found the bottom of the net and that helped bring everything else in his game together. The problem Hardy must work through is not letting offensive issues affect his defensive effort. He was really bad on that end, there’s no way around that. If and when he makes an impact on the Dallas rotation this season, it’ll be on both ends of the floor and he has the frame (long arms) to be able to play better defense than we’ve seen.

Energy of Taze Moore helped keep Dallas afloat

Moore, a player I will admit to knowing nothing about before this game, is the key reason the Mavericks were in a position to come back and win this game. His energy and above-the-rim plays really helped inject the Dallas Mavericks with life when the game was getting out of hand. The 26-year-old helped give Dallas their first Summer League win since August of 2021.

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