After two defeats against teams from the lower zone, the Mavericks needed to recover sensations, and they did it this morning by beating Philadelphia. The Texans have won the match 107-98, reaching 30 wins so far this season and recovering the lead of the Jazz, who aspire to snatch fourth place in the West. The 76ers, for their part, add their second consecutive loss, something that had not happened to them yet in 2022 and that puts the brakes on their qualifying climb.
Jason Kidd’s men were once again led by Luka Doncic, who continued his high level of recent weeks and, this time, was able to celebrate with victory. The Slovenian finished with 33 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds, thus signing the 44th triple-double of his career and placing himself alone as the tenth player who has achieved this record the most times, breaking the tie with Fat LeVert. In addition, this is the 8th game that the point guard has managed to finish a game with at least 30 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists, something that only Oscar Robertson, who did it 22 times, has achieved more times.
However, just as important as Luka’s dominance was the good performance of Kidd’s zone defense in the second half. The Mavs, who fell at halftime, managed to reverse the dynamics of the clash with this approach, greatly reducing the offensive performance of the visitors. Philadelphia scored just 35 points in the entire second half, and the 32-15 run in the third quarter allowed the Texans to turn the tables and begin to exert control.
Joel Embiid was one of the victims of this adjustment, since, after adding 18 points in the first half, he stayed at 9 in the second and could not shine as much as on other occasions. All in all, with his 27 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks, the center was unquestionably the best of his team, who were shipwrecked in the second half and barely found a way to exercise their game.
Tyrese Maxey, with 18 points, was the one who best helped the Cameroonian, while Tobias Harris, very discreet, had 13. The same was scored by George Niang, the best of the substitutes, whose 3/4 triples gave some oxygen to those of Doc Rivers but it was insufficient.
At home, despite the losses of Porzingis and Hardaway, Doncic found support in the rest of the members of the starting lineup, as all of them finished in double figures. Reggie Bullock, with 20 points, was the team’s second scorer, closely followed by Jalen Brunson’s 19, while Dwight Powell and Dorian Finney-Smith finished with 14 and 13 respectively. Much less did the substitutes, who stayed at 8 points in total, but the good defensive work and the great level of Luka meant that the Mavericks did not miss his contribution to take the win.
(Cover photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images)