The Mavs take on the 76ers in the city of Brotherly Love, after a brutal beating by Boston 114-93. This will be yet another tough back-to-back as Dallas has yet to win a game in these situations. If the team has plans to play beyond April they need to get these road wins now before falling too far in the playoff standings.
Doncic vs. Simmons
After the Mavs draft night heist to get Luka from Atlanta, everyone wanted to see the kid play. He sat out Summer League having just finished his Euroleague campaign and MFFLs had to wait for the preseason to see “The Wonder Boy” take the court.
Luka would eventually get the chance to matchup twice with Ben Simmons during the exhibition games in China. While Ben is clearly the better athlete, Luka was able to show flashes of “Luka Magic” then against his counterpart. Flash forward four months later and these two face off again in what should be the first of many season battles between these young stars.
The reigning rookie of the year is averaging 16 pts, 9 rebs and just under 8 assists a game. He runs the Philly offense much like Luka and is leading his team to the Eastern Conference playoffs. Doncic and Simmons both have great vision, size, and are great scorers in their own right. Simmons will use his athletic ability to get to the rim while Lukas outside game is his bread and butter. These players are the future of their respective franchises and the NBA, get your popcorn ready.
Dirk scoreless in Boston
The crowd at the Garden gave Dirk a standing ovation and kept cheering every shot Nowitzki took yet he missed all 10 of them. It was heartbreaking to watch as the legend has yet to find his groove in his 21st season. While I love to see the GOAT on the floor, it seems the bench is struggling on both ends with him out there. Maxi and Powell are both losing minutes in what seems a farewell tour for the fading face of the franchise.
It should be interesting to watch how Rick handles all this as the losses continue to pile up. The bench that was a weapon early this season has hit a rough patch as the chemistry appears to be adjusting. I am by no means saying Dirk is why Dallas is losing, but he’s not helping either. Even in his 40’s the Big German has too much pride to lay an egg again, expect him to bounce back strong tonight.
Embiid vs. Jordan
DeAndre was unavailable when the Mavs met the 76ers in the preseason and he was obviously missed then. Jordan draws the tough assignment of trying to contain one of the leagues most dominant big men in Joel Embiid, who is averaging All-Star numbers with 26.9pts and 13.6 rebs a game. Jordan will have to match the physicality down low to keep him off the boards while avoiding foul trouble.
The biggest challenge might be when DJ has to guard Embiid on the perimeter. Even though Joel is only shooting 29% from long distance, he will let it fly if left open. Also how many times have we seen players break their shooting slump against us? If Jordan can put pressure down low via lobs, putbacks, or free throws the Mavs have a great shot at taking the “W” in Philly.
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