Mayo, Mavericks look sharp, take care of ball to beat 76ers

Posted Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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DALLAS -- O.J. Mayo canceled an interview request with the media after Tuesday morning's shootaround so he could get a haircut.

Mayo explained that he would have gotten a call from his mother had he not gotten a haircut before Tuesday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Turns out Mayo's mom might have called him, but not for a scolding. Rather, to congratulate him on scoring a game-high 26 points and distributing a game-high eight assists as the Dallas Mavericks snapped a three-game losing streak with a 107-100 triumph over the Sixers at American Airlines Center.

It was a crucial victory for the Mavs (12-13), who host the world champion Miami Heat on Thursday followed by tough road games in Memphis and San Antonio on Friday and Sunday. With the iron of the NBA coming up, the Mavs were extremely focused on getting back on track against the Sixers.

"This was a must-win game, and these next three games we've got teams coming up that a lot of people think they're going to have the opportunity to get to the Finals," center Brandan Wright said. "So we knew how important it was tonight to get this win against Philadelphia."

For the Mavs, it also was important to keep their turnovers to a minimum. After coughing up a whopping 65 turnovers during road losses to Boston, Toronto and Minnesota, the Mavs turned the ball over just 11 times against the Sixers, including none in the second quarter. They led 57-52 at intermission.

"I think any time we can get some shots on the board and not turn the ball over, we're a better team," said Mayo, who also recorded a team-high three steals to go with only two turnovers. "I wanted to watch film on those 11 turnovers [Mayo committed] in two games and get better in that area."

The Mavs used some timely buckets by their one-two center combination of Chris Kaman and Wright to break the game open.

Wright hit three straight baskets during a 1:41 span of the fourth quarter to stake the Mavs to an 86-80 lead. Then, Kaman buried eight points during a 4:50 span to pad the Mavs' lead to 102-91 with 1:36 remaining.

"I had some wide-open opportunities and they played to my strengths, and I knocked them in," said Wright, who finished with 10 points and six rebounds. "When my name is called -- or if it's not called -- I'll be ready when it is called."

This was another war of attrition for the Mavs. Center Elton Brand didn't play because of a strained right groin.

Meanwhile, coach Rick Carlisle announced during his pre-game press conference that point guard Derek Fisher wouldn't play because of the flu. But Fisher got clearance from the team's medical staff to play, and he started and scored the team's first basket.

However, Fisher left the game with 6:51 remaining in the first period when he came down awkwardly after Evan Turner blocked his shot.

"We don't believe it's serious," Carlisle said. "I believe it to be, based on what doc said, a strained or sprained [right] patellar tendon.

"But he'll have an MRI [today] to determine the severity of it. He's walking and stuff, so at this point it doesn't look like a serious situation."

The Mavs, who also saw Shawn Marion become the 95th NBA player to score 16,000 career points, wanted more than anything to flush the 0-3 road trip out of their system before facing the NBA's big boys.

"We didn't have a great road trip," Mayo said. "So for us to come back here at home, we had to protect our home court and get a win."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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