JJ Redick didn’t miss a shot. Dirk Nowitzki didn’t miss a note.
Redick made all 10 of his shots and scored 28 points, Joel Embiid finished with 22 points and the Philadelphia 76ers downed the Dallas Mavericks 120-114 on Friday night in the opener of the NBA China Games.
Redick was 7 for 7 from 3-point range for the 76ers, who trailed by 15 points early.
“For him to come into this building and into China and shoot the ball the way he shot it, that is an elite JJ Redick performance — even by his standard,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said.
Ben Simmons finished with nine points, nine rebounds and 10 assists for Philadelphia.
Dennis Smith Jr. had 15 points in the game’s first 8 minutes and finished with 20 for the Mavericks. Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki sat out the game while continuing to recover from left ankle surgery, though he was presented with a guitar during a second-half stoppage in play by former NBA player Wang Zhizhi of China.
Nowitzki took it back to the bench and playfully strummed the strings, while fans who could see the scene on the scoreboards roared.
“With the energy in the building, it kind of reminded me of All-Star weekend,” Smith said. “The fans are great. They really appreciate basketball and I know everybody on the court and even on the sideline in terms of staff, they appreciate the fans here. There’s mutual respect on both ends so we wanted to come out and give them a show.”
Dallas was also without China’s Ding Yanyuhang, who sat out with knee soreness. He addressed the crowd in Mandarin before tip-off. Embiid also spoke to fans, capping remarks with the 76ers’ catchphrase of “trust the process.” And Nowitzki drew loud cheers when he greeted the fans in Shanghai with “Ni hao” — or hello.
“Thanks for having us,” Nowitzki told the fans, before a game that was broadcast to more than 200 countries and territories. “Thanks for the great hospitality. We appreciate you guys coming out tonight.”
Landry Shamet added 18 points for Philadelphia. Rookie Luka Doncic was one of three Mavericks with 11 points.
The two Dallas-Philadelphia games in China this year will push the NBA’s total of preseason games played there since this China Games series began in 2004 to 26. The NBA continues seeing enormous popularity in China, where it’s estimated that 300 million residents participate in basketball.
“The players recognize that the whole world will be watching, not just the fans here in China,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “So while it’s not a regular-season game, they know how important it is.”
Mavericks: It wasn’t just Nowitzki who wasn’t playing Friday. The Mavs were without two starters: DeAndre Jordan (death in family) and Harrison Barnes (right hamstring strain). … This is Dallas’ first preseason trip abroad since playing games in Germany and Spain in 2012. … Dallas rookie Kostas Antetokounmpo, the brother of Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo, airballed a free throw late in the game — then made his second try.
76ers: Philadelphia is playing in China, the U.S. and Canada this month alone. … Embiid went 0 for 3 in one first-quarter possession, all the shots coming from inside of 5 feet. … The 76ers have three wins in this preseason — their most since going 6-1 in 2012. … This was Philadelphia’s first preseason game overseas since contests in Spain and England in 2013, Brown’s first season with the 76ers. He used 13 players in those games, and none of them are still with the 76ers.
Silver discussed a story published Friday by The Dallas Morning News regarding additional allegations of inappropriate workplace conduct, claims that were not included in the recently concluded investigation into the Mavs’ organization . Silver said the league was aware of additional allegations, and that Mavs are following the league’s orders to be in constant contact with the NBA about how they are taking corrective measures. “I think they’re well-equipped now with the new organization they’ve put in place to do the appropriate, necessary investigation and act on those findings,” Silver said.
Led by Redick, Philadelphia’s bench shot 14 of 24 from 3-point range. Philadelphia’s starters were a mere 2 for 9 from deep.
The teams meet again Monday in Shenzhen, China.