The Dallas Mavericks came to Philly on a three-game winning streak after defeating the Nets on a Spencer Dinwiddie buzzer-beater Wednesday night.
One of the reasons for their success is the play of Luka Doncic. In the last three games, Doncic is averaging 31 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 7.6 assists per contest on 51% shooting from the field, but Friday’s game against the 76ers was a different story.
Doncic struggled from the field as he shot 5/20, including 1/8 from deep. He finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists, and six turnovers. Ultimately, behind Joel Embiid’s 32 points and eight rebounds and James Harden’s 24 points and 12 assists, Philly(43-26) defeated the Mavericks(43-26) 111-101 at Wells Fargo Center.
The All-Star shot 25% from field, but the rest of the team shot 53%. Jalen Brunson led Dallas with a team-best 24 points (10-14 FG, 2-3 3FG) in 33 minutes.
In the first game between these two teams in Dallas, which the Mavericks won 107-98, Dallas stifled the 76ers with their zone defense, but this time around, Philly played zone, and the Mavericks’ offense could not make shots.
“We played them zone in the first game, and now they got us back with the zone,” Doncic said after the game. ‘So now, it’s one-one, but you know I think it’s both playing great defense, but we didn’t make shots either.”
Mavs head coach Jason Kidd added: “We didn’t make shots, we held on to the ball, and it broke our rhythm, so you’ve got to give them credit for sticking with the zone. We just had some good looks; we just didn’t make them, and then when you play zone, you’ve got to be able to make shots, and we just didn’t do that tonight.”
Doncic knows bad shooting nights happen, and according to him, the only thing you can do is learn from it.
“I mean, yeah, it’s always tough keeping yourself on this type of night,” he said. “Obviously, this is not the first one, and it’s for sure not the last one, but you’ve gotta learn from this. You know, just gotta watch film, see what you did wrong, maybe the energy wasn’t there, but whatever you did wrong, you’ve just got to learn from it and go to the next game.”
Dallas will have an opportunity to get back on the right track as they finish their five-game road trip in Charlotte Saturday night.