Mavs Use Strong Second Half to Take Down Sixers, 109-91, Salvage Homestand

Matt Galatzan

DALLAS - On Friday night, Luka Doncic ripped his jersey in frustration, in what was ultimately an appropriate representation for the team's feelings after a disappointing blowout loss to the Lakers. 

The loss wasn't just frustrating, but it was the culmination of a wasted homestand in which the Mavs had won just two of a possible five games; albeit without star big man, Kristaps Porzingis. 

Heading into a back-to-back on Saturday, Dallas came out on the sluggish side once again, trailing by 12 in the second quarter, and by nine heading into the locker room at the half. 

Then the Mavs exploded out of the gate in the third quarter, out-scoring the Sixers 32-16, and taking control of the basketball game back for good. 

Dallas put the exclamation point on things late in the fourth, when Luka Doncic found Maxi Kleber for a 23-footer, putting Dallas up 15 points, and putting the game officially out of reach for Philadelphia. 

“Today, at halftime, we were flat and one of my assistant coaches who doesn’t speak up very often had some fiery words of inspiration for the team," Rick Carlisle said. "Mike Weinar, who has been with me ever since I got here, doesn’t normally say a whole lot but he felt strongly about a couple of things in this game. I really think those couple of sentences that he said really got our guys into it. The third quarter was spectacular. The second group did a great job. We got lucky when they missed a couple of shots they might normally make. We did a really good job finishing it   

Though he struggled to find his shot, Luka Doncic, of course, led the way for Dallas, scoring 19 points to go along with eight rebounds and 12 assists. 

“Oh great game, great second half," Doncic said. "We did a lot of good things especially on defense.”    

Dwight Powell was also instrumental in the comeback win, finishing the game with 19 points and 12 rebounds while connecting on 8-of-11 field goals. 

The rest of the starting lineup came to play as well, with Dorian Finney-Smith adding 16 points of his own, Tim Hardaway Jr. scoring 12 points, and Maxi Kleber contributing a solid 10 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. 

"(Maxi Kleber) was great," said Carlisle. "During this whole period, I would have loved to start him every game, but there is a minutes concern. Tonight was a night we needed to play bigger and needed a more physical presence to start the game. And, he was terrific all the way through."

Following the conclusion of this homestand, the Mavs will hit the road for a West Coast back-to-back, beginning with Golden State on Tuesday, followed by a matchup with the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. 

The Mavs are 2-0 against the Warriors this season, winning the matchups by an average of 34 points. The Kings got the better of them in their only matchup this season, however, winning 110-106 at the American Airlines Center in early December. 

"It is a great way to end the homestand," Carlisle said. "We would have loved to have won another game or two for sure, but we are where we are and we will enjoy the day off tomorrow, practice Monday and then get out of here.”