Sixers Win the Nerlens Noel Trade for One Night

By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)

Philadelphia 116, Dallas 74 – Box Score

Nerlens Noel was back in Philadelphia, and all the stories in the world about him buying cheesesteaks for fans at Chickie and Pete’s or hanging out with Richaun Holmes in South Philly weren’t going to keep things from seeming weird when he took the Wells Fargo Center court in a Dallas uniform. With the Mavericks surging recently and having an outside shot at making the playoffs in the Western Conference, it was reasonable to expect a Dallas victory, buoyed by inspired play from Noel in a classic revenge game performance.

But you know who helped throw all these ideas out the window and remind folks that he was involved in that trade as well?

As Mark Cuban looked on unhappily from his courtside seat, Justin Anderson dropped a game-high 19 points and 8 rebounds, hitting 7 of 11 shots from the field and 2 of 5 from behind the arc. It was part of an unexpected, obliterating performance from the Sixers. The 42-point margin of victory was the largest for Philadelphia during the Brett Brown era and dating all the way back to 2009 when the Andre’s formed the starting backcourt.

While Noel played fairly well, tallying 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in just 19 minutes, his friend Richaun Holmes was the best center on the court on the evening. Drawing the start to better match up with Dirk Nowitzki on the perimeter, Holmes brought his usual rim-wrecking savagery, slamming home many a lob pass or offensive rebound on his way to 17 points and 7 rebounds in just 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, the Sixers on the perimeter did an outstanding job stifling Yogi Ferrell, Seth Curry, and company; outside of Nowitzki, who scored 10 points, no Mavericks starter had more than 7 points on the game. Robert Covington and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot also combined to shoot 5-9 from three (TLC was a team-high +40 on the game, which is utterly ridiculous). TJ McConnell was so in control of the action that he could even afford to take a seat amongst the fans and watch Robert Covington finish off one of his assists.

With the Sixers win and the Kings having won 2 straight, it has not been a good week for lottery balls around Philadelphia. Still, a 42-point win is a heck of a lot of fun, and to do it against the team that had supposedly swindled the Sixers in a trade was I’m sure a nice extra boost for everybody. Hopefully, Justin Anderson builds on this performance and makes an impact on more of a consistent basis. He’s shown enough flashes to be hopeful about his future prospects. Regardless, you’ll always be in our hearts, Nerlens.

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