DALLAS – The reset button was Seth Curry’s best friend Wednesday night.
After a slow start, Curry put up game highs of 22 points, six assists and four steals as the Dallas Mavericks erupted for a 113-95 win over the Philadelphia 76ers at American Airlines Center.
Despite those numbers, this wasn’t one of Curry’s better games, according to coach Rick Carlisle.
"This was very much below his standards,’’ Carlisle said. "He had (three) turnovers in the first quarter, which is uncharacteristic.
"But he hit the reset button in the second quarter and from then on I thought he played his game. Him having (three) turnovers, that’s just not him.
"We had a reset button in the huddle and he pushed it in the second quarter and we cleared everything out and kind of started over. And from then on he played well.’’
Curry scored just three points in the first quarter, which ended with the Sixers clinging to a 23-20 lead. But the four-year veteran guard added 19 points – and no turnovers – in the remaining three quarters as the Mavs won for the eighth time in the last 11 games and increased their record to 20-30.
While Curry found his groove, second-year center Salah Mejri was in a zone all night. After playing just 10 total minutes earlier this week against San Antonio and Cleveland, Mejri made the most of the 21 minutes he recorded against the Sixers.
"I kept playing hard,’’ Mejri said. "I felt like every rebound was falling in my hands.
"I think everybody was feeling good after these two back-to-back wins and today we needed to play hard.’’
In playing the best game of his career, Mejri poured in a season-high 16 points and pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds and was 7-of-9 from the field. He also punished the Sixers with one dunk after another.
"Just big energy, I give him credit,’’ Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "I think he really does a good job of rolling hard after he sets a pick-and-roll.
"I think that he is a committed offensive rebounder even when he is not in the pick-and-roll. Our bigs struggled tonight and I thought our wings had a hard time containing their wings as well, but he surely – with his energy – changed the game.’’
The game-changing events by Mejri was much-needed, since the Mavs’ regular center – Andrew Bogut – has missed nine of the last 11 games and said he may not play again until Tuesday against Portland at the earliest.
"He’s been holding out on us,’’ said coach Rick Carlisle, when discussing Mejri. "He wasn’t feeling great the Cleveland game, and so he did a lot of work the last couple of days with the trainers.’’
While the Mavs turned a 50-47 halftime lead into a blowout, they also were able to unleash Yogi Ferrell on the Sixers. The rookie, who is in his third game with the Mavs after signing as 10-day contract last Saturday, didn’t exactly wow the sellout crowd of 19,263 with his shooting.
Instead, Ferrell worked the crowd into a lather when he missed a shot, quickly darted down court to knock the ball out of the hands of Sergio Rodriguez, and did performed a perfect swan dive into the waiting arms of fans sitting along the baseline.
From there, Devin Harris (14 points) drained a 3-pointer and Ferrell poured in a jumper which gave the Mavs an 81-69 lead after three quarters.
"The key to the game, I thought, was that stretch late in the third when Yogi ran down a loose ball from behind, and Salah took a charge,’’ Carlisle said. "The momentum clearly shifted to us and we were able to finish the game strong.’’
The Mavs eventually built a 22-point lead (100-78) with 5:40 left after Dwight Powell buried a 3-pointer.
Meanwhile, Ferrell finished with 11 points and five assists in 38 minutes. And not lost in the shuffle was a blocked shot the 6-foot Ferrell negotiated against the 6-11 Jahlil Okafor.
"He is a guy that plays hard,’’ Carlisle said of Ferrell. "Right now there is a real niche for him, and we need his minutes.
"Yogi is really helping us with our overall energy and keeping guys fresh.’’
Besides the fireworks from Curry, Mejri and Ferrell, Harrison Barnes scored 15 points and gathered seven rebounds, and the Mavs outrebounded the Sixers 51-39.
"Well, we always talk about finishing quarters and finishing plays,’’ Harris said. "And I think in the third quarter we finished how we wanted and we got the stops, and obviously the points are just the bonus for us.’’