Mavericks vs Sixers Recap: Dallas rallies in fourth to defeat Philadelphia, 111-103

The Dallas Mavericks staged a furious fourth quarter comeback to earn their first Summer League win of the year, defeating the 76ers, 111-103. Jaden Hardy led the Mavericks in scoring with 24, while Dereck Lively grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. DJ Steward led the Sixers with 24 points off the bench.

The Mavericks opened the game looking sharp and went up 5-0 very quickly. Then they promptly fell asleep and looked groggy for the rest of the neighborhood. Dallas played porous defense, died on screens while looking slow on rotations. On offense, the ball handling was sloppy from lead guards McKinley Wright and Hardy. Despite all that, Dallas went to the line 10 times (struck out eight), keeping them in the contest. After 10 minutes, the Mavericks trailed the Sixers, 31-24.

The second quarter wasn’t much better, though the Mavericks managed to cut into the Sixer lead repeatedly, only to give it back. Jaden Hardy continued to attack, and while he made mistakes, his offensive struggles were a microcosm of the Dallas offense. The Mavericks shot just 40% from the floor in the half, including a terrible 2 of 14 from three. The Sixers led 62-49 at the half.

Dallas came alive a bit in the second quarter after the Sixer lead grew to as many as 18. A smart pick-and-roll find from Hardy to Dereck Lively resulted in a nice dunk that seemed to wake the team up. A Jaden Hardy four-point play pulled Dallas within six points with just under four minutes remaining. Defensive lapses doomed the Mavericks as Philadelphia poured it on to build the lead to as many as 17. The Mavericks trailed entering the final quarter, 89-74.

In the final frame, the Dallas Mavericks started to play with urgency and cut the Sixer lead down to four in just over three minutes. Coach Jared Dudley chose to push the middle of the quarter with a very small lineup, all forwards and guards. Dallas twice cut the lead to two points before AJ Lawson tied it at 100 on a pair of free throws. Braxton Key’s layup finally gave Dallas their first lead since the 5-0 start, and Taze Moore followed it up with an alley-oop layin. Rookies in Lively and Prosper also got in on the action, with Lively getting a put-back dunk and Prosper connecting on a drive from the corner. The Mavericks walk away with a 111-108 victory.

Now some thoughts:

Minutes, effort and finding coherence

If you weren’t one of the lucky few who actually watched this game, what I’m going to say next might not make much sense given the final score and the win: Rookies need as many minutes as they can handle it. that they can learn about and find coherence on a professional level.

With the exception of Taze Moore and Jelly Walker, the Mavericks lacked juice for most of the game. They had problems handling the ball in attack and this led to terrible defending from everyone. All of the Mavericks had pretty remarkably bad first halves and third quarters, but they just kept hanging around.

Lively and OMax in particular need minutes and they need coaching corrections where they make mistakes. Finding that mix in the summer is much easier than in the regular season, but both of these players are going to matter if the Dallas Mavericks hope to make the playoffs.

The good and the bad of the Jaden Hardy experience

Mirroring the rest of the team, Hardy had a rough go on the offensive end, struggling to finish for most of the game. He eventually found the bottom of the net and that helped bring everything else in his game together. The problem Hardy needs to solve is not letting offensive issues affect his defensive effort. He was really bad in that end, there’s no way around it. If and when he makes an impact in the Dallas rotation this season, it will be on both ends of the floor, and he has the frame (long arms) to play better defense than we’ve seen.

The energy of Taze Moore helped keep Dallas afloat

Moore, a player I will admit I knew nothing about before this game, is the main reason the Mavericks were able to come back and win this game. His energy and play above the rim really helped breathe life into the Dallas Mavericks when the game was getting out of hand. The 26-year-old helped give Dallas their first Summer League win since August 2021.

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