James Harden’s helpless reaction to Mavs stars Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving dropping 82 on Sixers
In the Philadelphia 76ers’ first matchup of the season against the Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving were too much for them to handle. The Sixers lost 133-126 in a crazy game where Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey all scored very efficiently and above their league average. The Mavs stars simply couldn’t be stopped.
The Sixers and Mavs found themselves in a shootout before Dallas pulled away and built a lead big enough to withstand an energetic comeback attempt. Doncic ended the night with 42 points while Irving tallied 40, making Dallas history and delivering a loss to Philly.
“I think everybody has seen that: two elite scorers, two elite playmakers that, once they get going, it’s difficult to slow them down,” Harden said. “I mean, it felt like the entire team made every shot…They shot a lot of threes and made most of them. When a team gets that hot, it’s difficult to win. We gave ourselves a chance, but they just literally made everything.”
Doncic got Irving plenty of good looks and they each did their thing individually. The Sixers had no consistent answers defensively. Reinserting Tyrese Maxey into the starting lineup was the main way they looked to keep up with Dallas on offense. It got them close but not ahead.
“That team was tough with one wizard with the basketball in Luka and now they got two of them out there. Those are tough matchups,” Tobias Harris said. “Those are some of the best guys with the basketball in the whole league, and they just picked us apart tonight. Just being able to get to their spots and raise up and score. You got to give them credit, too, because they made a lot of tough shots. Outside of that, everything we presented — they got off the ball, those guys just made shots, made plays. Reggie Bullock had a great game, [so did] other guys on their roster.”
The Sixers’ defense gave up passing lanes to shooters too frequently and didn’t put forth a strong effort to force the ball out of Irving and Doncic’s hands. They ended up paying the price for it.