Philadelphia 76ers tame Dallas Mavericks in NBA China Games 2018

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SHANGHAI, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) — The Philadelphia 76ers entertained Chinese fans with a 120-114 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA China Games 2018 here on Friday.

J.J. Redick scored a game-high 28 points on ten-for-ten shooting. Philly’s rising star Joel Embiid had 22 points and 10 rebounds. Dennis Smith Jr. scored 21 for the Dallas, with 15 points in the first quarter.

The game unveiled after a futuristic opening show and greetings from Embiid and Dallas’ local player Ding Yanyuhang and legend Dirk Nowitzki. Ben Simmons and Robert Covington’s shots gave the 76ers a 4-0 lead but the Mavericks stormed to a 12-0 spurt with consecutive three-pointers from Wesley Matthews and Dennis Smith Jr. The game escalated when Redick and Devin Harris engaged in a three-pointer duel and the Mavericks finished the first quarter with a 35-26 lead.

The sixers shore up their defense in the second quarter and their shooter Redick was red hot beyond the arc, with his three-pointer and put the Philly ahead again at 57-55. Doncic spearheaded the Dallas to end their scoreless streak, followed by the lead changing hands several times. The 76ers wrapped up the first half 64-62.

Heading into the second half, Doncic continued his excellent performance, adding points to the Dallas side but Embiid would not let this rookie become the sole focus on the court. Nicknamed “the great emperor” by Chinese fans, Embiid played more aggressively inside the paint and Redick’s incredible three pointers secured the lead for the 76ers.

A touching moment came during a timeout in the third quarter when Wang Zhizhi, the Chinese legendary player that once played with the Mavericks, gave a special gift – an electric guitar – to his former teammate Nowitzki. The guitar was a reminder of the old days when they lived in the same apartment in which the German “annoyingly” played guitar almost every night with Steve Nash.

Leading by 92-85 into the last quarter, the 76ers withstood the bounce-off of the opponent and both teams gave more chance to substitutes four minutes from time. The Mavericks refused to surrender being 120-114 down with 13 seconds left, but Shake Milton snatched the defensive rebound and clinched the victory for the 76ers.

This is the 25th game of the NBA China Games since the first one staged in 2004. Both the 76ers and the Mavericks are new to the Games, being the 16th and the 17th teams to visit China.

“When you come back to the hotel and see how many fans are there, and realizing how much you guys love the sport and the sixers. I think it’s amazing to see that every day,” Simmons said, taking about his impression on the trip.

“Everywhere, everybody just show you so much love,” Embiid added.

The two teams will stage a rematch on October 8 at the Shenzhen Universiade Center.

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