It was the luck of the Sixers on St. Patrick's Day.
The Sixers completely dominated the Mavericks, 116-74, in Nerlens Noel's first game back to Philadelphia. This was the Sixers' largest margin of victory since Jan. 30, 2008, when they beat the Bucks, 112-69, per Basketball Reference. The Mavs' 74 points were the fewest scored by a Sixers' opponent this season.
The Sixers took an 11-point lead over the Mavericks at halftime after dominating the entire second quarter. They outscored the Mavs, 36-16, in the third and led by as many as 43 in the fourth.
Noel scored nine points with five rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block in his return after being traded to Dallas. He checked in with 6:45 to go in the first quarter and appeared nerved up early on. Noel committed a turnover and missed a fast-break alley-oop. Still, he settled in and logged nearly 19 minutes off the bench.
Noel wasn't the only person involved in the trade … and Justin Anderson made that known. Anderson scored a team-high 19 points with eight rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes. He wasted little time draining his first shot of the game, a three, against his former team. His hustle play included this one-handed putback dunk off a Nik Stauskas miss.
Simba... 😳 😳 pic.twitter.com/iuUNctfso8— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 18, 2017
The Sixers snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Mavericks. They improved to 25-43. The playoff-hunting Mavericks dropped to 29-39.
Brett Brown based his starting center on the Mavericks' lineup. Richaun Holmes got the nod because the Mavs started Dirk Nowitzki. Brown felt the more athletic-minded Holmes would be better suited to defend Nowitzki, who spreads the floor.
When Noel checked in, Jahlil Okafor did, too. Finally, Noel and Okafor were able to share the court.
Inside the box score
• Robert Covington scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
• Holmes scored 17 points, including 15 in the first half. He started off the game 7 for 7 from the field and finished 8 for 11 with seven rebounds in 20 minutes.
• Sergio Rodriguez scored 13 points off the Sixers' bench.
• Dwight Powell led the Mavericks with 14 points as a reserve. Only two other players scored in double digits: J.J. Barea (11 points) and Nowitzki (10 points).
• The Sixers focused on the glass after Salah Mejri beat them on the boards in their last game. They outrebounded the Mavs, 55-34.
Noel 'thank you' video
The Sixers showed their appreciation for Noel's three-plus seasons with the organization by putting together a video that aired during a first-quarter timeout (see video).
Have a seat
T.J. McConnell found himself with an unexpected seat in the crowd during the third quarter. He picked off a Mavericks' pass, threw it to Covington and landed in a chair courtside. They're really quite comfortable, so not a bad spot to end up.
The Sixers will host the Celtics on Sunday afternoon before departing for a five-city road trip, starting in Orlando on Monday.