As the days to the NBA’s opening night continue to dwindle, the preseason slate continues for the Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ersas they will meet again overseas in a second consecutive game in China on Monday.
The Sixers took Friday’s matchup in Shanghai 120-114. Monday’s meeting will take the teams about 900 miles southwest to Shenzhen, a city in the province of Guangdong. What are the main storylines for this international matchup?
Who will the coaches put on the floor?
With the Mavs still without the services of Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki and DeAndre Jordan, coach Rick Carlisle might have to play his “bigger name” players more than he’d like.
Rookie Luka Doncic played a team-high 30 minutes for a second consecutive preseason game as he continues to work his way into being comfortable on a NBA floor. Dennis Smith Jr. and Wesley Matthews have both played over 24 minutes in both preseason contests for Dallas so far.
On the other side, Sixers coach Brett Brown (and his new beard) didn’t shy away from allowing his star players spending plenty of time on the court for the fans in Shanghai. Reigning Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons logged 27 minutes for Philadelphia while big man Joel Embiid had 24.
Can Dennis Smith Jr. continue to look this good?
This preseason hasn’t just been about ridiculous dunks for the second year guard. Although, let’s not forget the one he had in the opener against the Beijing Ducks.
Smith Jr. has been showing off big time so farthis fall with an impressive 18 points per game and shooting a much-improved 54% from the field through two preseason games.
He’s shown off a comfortable jump shot and a great ability to finish at the rim in multiple ways. Dallas can only hope to continue to reap the benefits of electric play from their top draft pick in 2017.
Will NBA TV provide a better broadcast this time?
When we were all up and at ’em early Friday morning for the 6:30 AM start time here in Texas, we were immediately rewarded with delayed audio on the television feed. To my knowledge, this was never fixed. Was that all? The two announcers butchered names like Maxi Kleba and Salah Mejri. Then they even referred to Harrison Barnes as Matt Barnes. They must have been thinking a lot about the “Kobe Bryant ball in the face” saga that had us all thinking about Barnes last week.
Anytime you have a couple of broadcasters announcing a game from a stateside studio, there is going to be something not quite right. Unless NBA TV ships over Chris Webber and Kevin Harlan right now, we might be in for another morning with our TV or phone on mute.
Monday’s game is slated for a 7 AM Central tip-off and can be seen on NBA TV.
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