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DeeeeFense (AP Photo/H. Rumph, Jr.)If you're looking for a reason for the Sixers 84-76 win over the Mavs tonight, look no further than their defense in the second half. Dallas scored 23 points total after the break. TWENTY-THREE!

There are two real heroes from this game. On offense, Andre Miller took exception to a couple of horrible calls late in the second quarter. He was angry, and he took it out on the Mavs. He scored 9 consecutive points to end the half, and pull the Sixers within three. They had been down by 10. Miller was so hot he even hit a three, his third of the season.

On defense, you guessed it, Thad Young shined again. From the start of the game, Thad was matched up with Dirk Nowitzki, a tough assignment to say the least. I tracked the possessions throughout the game in which Thad was guarding Dirk, most of the time, Dirk couldn't get the ball in a position where he could even get a shot off. When he did, these were the results:

  • Contested  jumper for an air ball. 0/1
  • Contested jumper, missed short. 0/2
  • Fouled on the drive, team in the penalty. Made both free throws. (2 points)
  • Made jumper after Thad left him to double. 1/3
  • Contested jumper, missed long. 1/4
  • Contested three, missed. 1/5
  • Contested three, missed. 1/6.
That's it. For about 20 minutes, Thad was matched up with the reigning MVP. Nowitzki managed 4 points on 6 shots in those 20 minutes. Stellar, stellar job by the rook.

It needs to be pointed out that the Mavs were under-manned (Dampier, Harris and Stackhouse didn't play, Josh Howard was injured and Dirk missed early minutes due to a stiff back). The Mavs were also coming off a back-to-back against N.J. last night. Still, the Sixers played their way through a horrible schedule early in the season. All the games they lost under tough circumstances still count as losses, and all the wins they're picking up now, with the schedule in their favor, count as well.

That's four in a row for the Sixers, they've won the first four on their home court with one game left on the stand before the All Star Break, the tanking Grizzlies on Wednesday night. They also pull back to within a half game of the final playoff slot.

Prior to the game, Andre Miller was named the player of the week for last week. He made a case for back-to-back honors tonight. His final line: 21 points, 8 boards, 7 assists.

Player of The Game: Andre Miller
Team Record: 22-30
by Brian on Feb 11 2008
Tags: Andre Miller | Basketball | Mavericks | Sixers |