By Jerry Wein
The Sixers rolled through Dallas like a tornado last night, and there was nothing the Mavs could do to stop them.
Joel Embiid scored 36 points and the Sixers ended a road stretch with a 113-95 victory.
Embiid made all six of his free throws in the first four-plus minutes and was 14 of 15 from the line as the 76ers finished 8-4 while playing 10 of 12 games on the road going into their final regular-season meeting with Brooklyn.
Philly took a half-game lead atop the Eastern Conference over the Nets, whose game at Minnesota was called off because of the shooting death of a Black man by police in the Minneapolis area.
“Honestly until walking into this interview I didn’t know we played Brooklyn next,” coach Doc Rivers said. “I’ll close the book on Dallas when we get on the plane and then start watching whoever the next opponent is. It’ll be a fun game for both teams.”
Luka Doncic scored 32 points but the young Dallas star didn’t have enough help with European sidekick Kristaps Porzingis sitting out the second night of a back-to-back four days after playing in one for the first time in two months.
“I wish we had our full complement of guys and had a day of rest coming into the game,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “But this season you’re rarely going to get what you want when it comes to that kind of stuff.”
The Dallas debut of JJ Redick wasn’t much of a boost either. The veteran shooting guard had been recovering from a right heel injury since being acquired from New Orleans at the trade deadline more than two weeks ago in hopes of boosting the Mavericks at the 3-point line.
Playing against one of his former teams and his coach from four seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers in Rivers, Redick entered late in the first quarter and missed two shots from inside the arc before connecting on his first attempt from 3. The 36-year-old in his 15th season scored four points, going 1 of 7 from the field and 1 of 3 from deep.
Philly’s Furkan Korkmaz was 4 of 7 from 3-point range and matched his season high with 20 points. Tobias Harris scored 10 and Ben Simmons had eight points, six rebounds and seven assists.
Embiid scored eight points, including a three-point play right after a dunk by Simmons, during a 10-1 run that gave Philadelphia a 60-45 lead late in the first half. Embiid, who didn’t play in the fourth quarter, was 10 of 17 from the field.
The Mavericks used most of their big men trying to defend Embiid but had no answer. Maxi Kleber picked up two fouls in the first two minutes and combined with Boban Marjanovich and Willie Cauley-Stein for eight fouls in the first half, when Embiid scored 23 points.
“I thought he played in attack mode all night, didn’t settle,” Rivers said. “He felt like the last couple of games, he’d been settling. He was phenomenal in how aggressive he was. He made the right plays.”
With the Sixers leading by 10 early in the third quarter, Embiid capped nine straight Philadelphia points with a 3 above the key before Seth Curry hit another from deep for a 72-55 lead.
It was Curry’s first game in Dallas since his second Dallas stint ended in an offseason trade. He finished with eight points.