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Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid Lead 76ers to Blowout Win vs. Luka Doncic, Mavs

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 26, 2021

Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic, center, cannot get a shot past Philadelphia 76ers' Mike Scott, left, and Ben Simmons during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Dallas Mavericks 111-97 on Thursday at home in the Wells Fargo Center.

The 76ers outscored the Mavs 36-21 in the second quarter to take a 59-43 halftime lead and used a 9-0 run in the fourth to put the game away.

Philadelphia earned big wins in turnover differential (18-7), points in the paint (50-26) and fast-break points (24-7).

Philadelphia center Joel Embiid led all scorers with 23 points, and 76ers point guard Ben Simmons added 15 points and seven assists. Mavs point guard Luka Doncic scored 19 points and committed seven turnovers.

Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis missed his third straight game with lower back tightness. Philadelphia forward Tobias Harris left the game in the third quarter with a right knee contusion.

The 22-11 76ers have won four of their last five games. The Mavericks, who had won six of their last seven, fell under .500 to 15-16.

      

Notable Performances

Mavericks PG Luka Doncic: 19 points, 4 assists, 3 blocks

Mavericks SG Josh Richardson: 13 points, 6 rebounds

Mavericks SG Tim Hardaway Jr.: 12 points, 3 assists, 2 blocks

76ers C Joel Embiid: 23 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists

76ers PG Ben Simmons: 15 points, 7 assists, 2 steals

76ers C Dwight Howard: 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks

   

Simmons-Led Defense Sparks 76ers' Win

The Mavericks entered this game shorthanded without the services of their second-leading scorer in Porzingis, and Philadelphia took full advantage, playing excellent team defense and coasting to a double-digit win.

The 76ers entered this one at No. 5 in defensive efficiency, and it showed. Doncic finished with as many turnovers (seven) as the entire 76ers team, with Simmons leading the way on defending him.

Every 76ers starter had at least two steals with the exception of Harris, who still had one and left the game with more than half of the third quarter still remaining.

Off the bench, Dwight Howard blocked three Mavericks shots and added a steal in just 16 minutes.

The 76ers' defense led to some easy opportunities on the other end.

Howard stuffed a Dwight Powell shot, and Simmons eventually gathered the ball and cruised to the lane for a dunk:

NBA @NBA

Dwight block ➡️ Ben flush! 💪 @sixers turning defense to offense on TNT https://t.co/vq6DoMMysm

Simmons later picked Willie Cauley-Stein's pocket and found an open Embiid for another fast-break bucket:

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

Swipe & slam. @BenSimmons25 x @JoelEmbiid https://t.co/QVR51VX8Az

Per Sixers Stats, the 76ers' 22 forced turnovers were a season-high, and they led to 22 points.

Great defense made life easy for the 76ers in this one, and because of it, they're still one half-game ahead of the streaking Brooklyn Nets for first in the Eastern Conference.

      

Nothing Goes Right for Dallas in Tough Loss

Dallas came into this game on fire in February, but it left with a bad loss as the 76ers led by as many as 26 points in the fourth quarter and were able to rest their starters down the stretch.

On offense, Mavs starters combined to shoot just 37.5 percent from the field. No Mavs scored 20 or more points, marking just the second time that has happened this season. Turnovers were a problem all night as well.

On defense, the Mavs had no answer for Dwight Howard, who turned back the clock to 2009 and ripped off 14 points in just 16 minutes of play. In fairness, there isn't much defense when a freight train rolls through the lane:

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

https://t.co/ofzBrsAl0x https://t.co/m6vkeLTlvB

Philadelphia held Embiid to just 5-of-20 shooting, but the backcourt of Simmons and Seth Curry combined to go 12-of-21, with Curry hitting all three of his three-pointers.

The pair's partnership excelled on this night, with these two highlights as evidence:

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

3️⃣1️⃣ → 2️⃣5️⃣ https://t.co/Nt5wJO3Hq1

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

With some authority. https://t.co/OS1j3NhSiE

Simmons later put a spin move on Doncic:

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

Getting nifty. 📺 @NBAonTNT | @BenSimmons25 https://t.co/zPGxHrfU6d

Credit to the Mavericks for fighting until the end and nearly cutting the lead to single digits down the stretch, but Dallas simply didn't have it Thursday as Philadelphia's excellent execution paved the way to victory.

      

What's Next?

Dallas will hit the road to play the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET in a nationally televised game on ABC.

Philadelphia will play the second matchup of a four-game homestand to close the first half of its regular-season schedule against the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7 p.m.

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