On the second Dallas basket of the night, just 2:09 into the game, Jason Kidd collected assist number 11,000 on a high-flying alley-oop finished by Tyson Chandler with a powerful dunk. Kidd trails only John Stockton's 15,806 assists for the NBA all-time lead.
This was only the beginning of what would be a dominant night from the combination of Chandler and Brendan Haywood.
Prior to the game, Rick Carlisle had this to say about Chandler: "He's done a great job on the floor. He's done a great job with his enthusiasm. He's an upbeat guy that's always encouraging everybody, always into the game whether he's in the game or not in the game. So, those things all bring energy. That's always a great thing."
By halftime another line became evident, and Carlisle's words began to resonate on the court; the Mavs centers had come to play, and put together what certainly is their most effective game as a pair.
Combined, they totaled 17 points, 29 rebounds and three blocks.
Not lost among this dominance were the 11 first half rebounds by Haywood, including seven at the offensive end. He'd go on to take nine offensive boards within his 17 total to go with six points.
Behind Jason Terry's 13 first-half points, the Mavs went into intermission up seven (55-48), having survived a 10-to-nothing run by the 76ers that knotted the game at 41.
But this young Philadelphia team refused to fall away and managed to shoot 61.1 percent in the third quarter (this against the best FG-percent-against team in the NBA) and climbed back within three.
Then … the J.J. Barea show began -- otherwise known as the fourth quarter -- and brought with it yet another storyline.
For the night, Barea led all scorers with 19 points, including 12 in the final quarter that helped to finally put the game away.
Combine his endless flurries into the paint that put the Philly defense on its heels, with the surging Dallas defense that held the 76ers to 5-of-19 (26.3 percent) shots from the floor in the closing quarter, and the Mavs pulled away.
Brian Cardinal hit a big 3 with 8:34 left in the game to put the Mavs up 11, and suddenly a team that had managed to keep the game within reach began to wobble.
The Mavs (6-2) have won three in a row, their first such streak of the season and await a big matchup with the New Orleans Hornets this Monday.
*We've been hard on Barea when he failed to perform well. ... and that was the case in the first five games of this season. But here, Barea capped off three strong games with his best yet. With his 19 points he gave out two assists and did not turn the ball over.
Barea continuously left Jrue Holiday -- or whoever stood between his dribble and the rim -- in his wake and dominated the final quarter on the offensive end.
And, for those counting, Barea tied Haywood for the third best plus/minus (+10) beind only Dirk's +14 and Terry's +11.
*Unofficial Tyson Chandler Alley-Oop Count: Again, there were four tries, if you count a pass from Dirk that may have not truly been an attempt, and two successful finishes, both crowd-lifting dunks.
*The center play was huge, as mentioned above. Tyson Chandler put up 11 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and one steal before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
Haywood played exactly how we've all hoped he would. "We,'' meaning Dallas management, too. He scored six points with 17 rebounds (again, nine of which were offensive – have to repeat that!) and one block.
*The Mavs made sure not to let the athletic 76ers run, holding them to only seven fast-break points. Fish counted just four fast-break points for Memphis on Wednesday, and suddenly you cannot run on Dallas.
*Even with Barea's scoring in the paint, and the dominant play of the centers, the 76ers managed to outscore the Mavs 52-to-38 in the paint. Fluke!
*Marion again started for Caron Butler, who continues to recover from back spasms (Tuff Juice is hoping to be ready Monday), and again presented a valid argument that he should remain in that role. He totaled 16 points (shooting 8-of-11), five rebounds and two assists.
Throughout the night, he was active and made himself available for easy shots by moving without the ball.
*After the strong first half, Terry could not get things going in the second, where he went 0-f-6 from the floor and did not score. He finished with 13 points, three rebounds, four assists and one steal.
*Beyond gathering assist number 11,000, Jason Kidd had another strong all-around game. He finished as one of six Mav players to score double digits, with ten points, eight assists, two rebounds and four steals.
Before the final 49 seconds that saw Ian Mahinmi and Dominique Jones inserted into the game for the first time, every Dallas player who had stepped onto the court had scored as the Mavs bench totaled 43 points … a total only surpassed by their 46 in the route of Memphis two days prior.
*Turnovers have become a stat to watch. Until the final five minutes of the first half, Dallas had only turned the ball over once. In the end, they totaled 10 turnovers … still a far cry from the 20 or above all-too-familiar at times this year.
*Odd Stats: The Mavs had their highest scoring first quarter of the season with 31. And, matched their most points in any fourth quarter, only 21 (seems low). They also held their opponent to the fewest fourth quarter points of the season (15).
The moral to this story for the 6-2 Mavs? Even with Kidd as the headliner, there was more than one story.