You have to figure the Dallas Mavericks just want to play another game after they got a solid beatdown from the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. It wasn’t pretty from start to finish, but the 115-89 whooping they received can be thrown in the trash as they visit the Philadelphia 76ers tonight. Tonight’s game starts a stretch that will see our Mavs play 8 of the next 10 games on the road.
Mavs’ starting power forward Elton Brand makes his return to the city of brotherly love. The Sixers exercised their amnesty provision on Brand this summer which led Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson to claim the veteran forward for an advantageous $2.1 million. Really hope that EB shows out and has his best game of the season in this one.
With the Mavs sitting at 7-7 the positive way to approach things is to keep saying we’re just fine without our star Dirk Nowitzki. That reasoning runs dry over time because you would like to be better with the subpar competition played early on. With stiffer opponents and plenty of roadies ahead, times may only get harder for Dallas who barring a Kevin Love-like surprise return from Dirk, will likely be without his services until mid-December.
Philadelphia sits only a game and a half behind both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks in the Atlantic Division. It’s been a relatively up and down year thus far for the Sixers. They’ve yet to see Andrew Bynum play since they acquired him over the summer as he deals with chronic knee issues. On a positive note, point guard Jrue Holiday has made giant strides in his game. Check out his improvements from last season to now:
Dallas obviously has seen O.J. Mayo make comparable strides and the team has desperately needed all that he’s provided. Without Dirk in the lineup, the Mavs are without a proven closer. Sure, Vince Carter has no problem attempting to be the hero, but all of us MavsNation would welcome Juice getting the clutch shots until Big #41 returns.
In the only meeting last year due to an abbreviated season, the Mavericks trailed in Philadelphia at halftime by 14. In what turned out to be quite the grind, the Mavs hammered down defensively holding the Sixers to just 24 second half points en route to an 82-75 win. Dirk led the comeback win in fashion with a dominating 28 points, 24 after the intermission.
The Mavs and Sixers surrender the worst and third worst rebounding totals to opponents which should make for an intriguing battle on the glass tonight. Neither squad has a player to average more than 7.9 rebounds this season. The key for Dallas though remains limiting their opponents offensive rebounds and second chance points. With highly active guys like Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young the Mavs will need to match their effort on both ends.
Philly isn’t going to be an easy place to win if our Mavs continue to pile up unforced turnovers. The sloppy play needs to cease and better execution come forth. The Sixers are feisty and can finish off our mistakes. If the Mavs can work to improve their ball movement and create easy scoring opportunities, they should be in a prime position to leave Philly with a W.
After the guys chow down at Reading Terminal Market today, they tip shortly after 6:00 p.m. CT tonight and the live action will be shown on both Fox Sports Southwest and Comcast Sports Philadelphia.
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