Doncic bumps into Simmons

Bad game for Embiid and bad game for Doncic. Above them stood out the other player from this match who will go to the All-Star, Ben Simmons.


The Mavericks visited the home of the best team in the Eastern Conference by win ratio and were not so fine as to get out of their home, in which they have lost only two games out of sixteen, a victory. Rick Carlisle's team was short of troops and accuracy and could not finish off the good approach that was made about Joel Embiid, the great star of the rival, who was left at 5/20 in field shots and without having Porzingis defending the painting.

The problems came in other ways. Rivers played with a shorter rotation and Dwight Howard did hurt at center. Guard Seth Curry, a Mavs player last season, was the one with the best +/- on the court (+17) and not by chance. The 76ers took control from before the break and did not let go, winning by a final 111-97.

The Mavericks suffered from strenuous defense by Ben Simmons over their best player, Slovenian Luka Doncic, and no one else stepped out. Hardaway and Brunson were fine, just fine, not in the high-scoring versions we've seen them in recent weeks, and it was coupled with Simmons dropping Doncic 6/13 on pitches so winning chances were narrowed from drastically. The secondary players did not work this time and Doncic lacked not only the ease to score but also to direct and delegate.

Embiid did have the good that Doncic lacked. It was seen, for example, in the first minutes. He knew how to do dirty work and leave the shine to his colleagues since he did not have the day. With Curry he had a good connection to stop the first visitor onslaught. The first quarter was equalized and smoothly waiting for a second in which the game would begin to be decided.

Howard was one of the keys. The center, with an image similar to that of his glory days without the appointment in the head, dizzy Powell, who also came out as a substitute, and forced the Mavs to go to great lengths to stop the balls that came to him. Nothing could be further from the truth. After getting seven up, Dallas dropped to one with half a quarter to go. That's where the Simmons SUV appeared. Three plays of pure power, with his limited shooting range but varying the threats, against Brunson, Doncic and Hardaway were the prelude to an assist for a triple from Curry, an assist for a triple from Embiid and a purse steal from Cauley -Stein to engineer a counterattack. Everything in just four minutes. The difference rose to 17. The moral blow was devastating for the visitors, who began to go with the hook against a team with a differential player.

Almost impossible task for Texans. Simmons, who has already dried up other attacking players like Lillard this season, didn't let Doncic react enough to get him in trouble. The Mavs did a good job of containing Harris and Embiid, but it wasn't enough to give them a chance. The distance of twenty remained for much of the second half with no other solution than the final honk.

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