We were all thinking it in the first half.
"Holy crap the Mavs might lose to the 76ers at home. Hope is lost. Cancel the season. Burn it with fire."
Okay, maybe not everyone, but that's what I was thinking. But no! After falling behind 43-35 in the second quarter, Dallas remembered how to play basketball. The Mavs went on a crazy run to end the second half and never looked back, beating Philadelphia 129-103, which is Dallas' largest margin of victory this season.
There was no overtime. There was no wire-to-wire finish. Just a a victory over a bad team that Dallas is supposed to beat. Plus Dirk eclipsed 29,000 career points, so that was fun!
In case you happened to miss it, Dirk became the 6th player in NBA history to score 29,000 points, just adding to his illustrious career. The basket came on a three from the top of the arc (because of course) at the 10:21 mark of the third quarter.
What made it even better is that Dirk finally got back on track after struggling for a bit. He came into Sunday shooting 39.5 percent in his last 10 games, but ended with 18 points, five 3-pointers and seven rebounds. Most of his points came on threes, and it's always good times when he's knocking down wide open looks. When he's not, the world just feels engulfed in darkness.
More than anything, it was great seeing Dirk add another accomplishment to his loooooong list of them. Enjoy it while it lasts, people.
WESLEY MATTHEWS GOT BUCKETS
Its been a rough go lately for Dallas' big offseason addition. Matthews only had five points against Orlando on Friday on 2-of-10 shooting from the field, but Sunday was a big step in the right direction. Matthews led the Mavs with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting.
Matthews scored 12 of his points in the first half and never really slowed down. What was interesting is his first two buckets didn't come from the 3-point line, but from inside. Wes is a shooter who's going to keep taking shots no matter how much he's struggling, and it was good seeing him get some buckets inside the line before shooting from the outside. I'd even like to see Dallas use Wes more inside the arc even more in the future.
Regardless, hopefully this begins an upward trend for Matthews, because Dallas desperately needs him to perform.
BIG MEN CONTINUE TO TORMENT DALLAS
It's a good thing this was the 76ers, because if Jahlil Okafor was surrounded by, you know, better basketball players Dallas might have lost this game. Okafor torched the Mavs to the tune of 31 points while making 12-of-19 shots. He had 23 (!) of those points in the first half and Dallas had no answer at all.
It's really not surprising, though. The Mavs are atrocious when it comes to defending athletic big men, and have been burned by plenty of them this season. It's a bloodbath when Dirk gets stuck on those guys, and Zaza Pachulia isn't athletic enough to keep up with someone like Okafor.
Ok, so Dirk and Zaza won't work, but what about the bench? Dwight Powell is a terrible matchup for an Okafor/Noel tandem, which leaves Salah Mejri and Javale McGee. Mejri was the first big man off the bench, while McGee was inactive, which is a telling sign. Still, both are athletic bigs, but not good enough to help contain some of the better bigs in the league.
STARTERS ALL PLAY WELL
It was nice to see the starters all play well at the same time. Everyone except Zaza scored in double-figures (he had nine points and 10 boards) and no one really had an off night. We know about Wes and Dirk, but Williams had 15 points and eight assists while Chandler Parsons also had 15. It was against the Sixers, sure, but more of that would be cool.