Sixers hit the road to face Luka Doncic and the Mavericks - Sport News

Sixers hit the road to face Luka Doncic and the Mavericks

After a couple dismal showings against Eastern Conference powerhouses, the Philadelphia 76ers rebounded to defeat the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night. As satisfying as it is to see Miles Bridges lose, beating the lowly Hornets is no cause for a huge celebration. The Sixers will try to stack up against another playoff-bound opponent this afternoon in a Sunday matinee versus the Dallas Mavericks. Tip-off will be around noon Central time in Texas, and those weird start time games can get a little funky sometimes, often with some slow starts.

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Dallas is 34-26 on the season, but has been playing good ball of late. Before their most recent stretch where they lost three of four games, the Mavericks had won seven games in a row, started by a 118-102 win over the Sixers in Philadelphia last month. Their plus-7.8 net rating in the month of February was good for sixth-best in the NBA. (The Sixers were 27th out of 30 teams if you need to put a statistic to that cavernous ache of disappointment you felt over the last month.)

The Mavericks made a couple medium-sized moves leading up to the trade deadline, first acquiring P.J. Washington and two second-round picks from Charlotte for Grant Williams, Seth Curry, and a 2027 first-rounder. Dallas valued Washington’s versatility, with his ability to handle a bit, act as a screener, and space the floor as a four. He is averaging 11.4 points across eight games as a Maverick. Dallas also picked up Daniel Gafford from Washington in exchange for Richaun Holmes and Oklahoma City’s 2024 first-round pick (which Dallas obtained from the Thunder for a 2028 pick swap). Gafford has been coming off the bench for Dallas, averaging 9.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in forming a center tandem with rookie Dereck Lively II.

Of course, the key to slowing down Dallas will be defending their star guard duo. The Sixers actually did a fairly good job against Luka Doncic in their prior meeting this season, with Jaden Springer hounding the MVP candidate. Springer is, of course, now a Boston Celtic, so we’ll see how the 2024 second-round pick does against Doncic this afternoon. Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving is enjoying his healthiest stretch of the season, which not coincidentally has coincided with Dallas’ recent success. Irving hasn’t missed a game since February 3. Philadelphia will miss De’Anthony Melton more than most matchups, having to contend with two of the most explosive scoring guards in the league. Aside from the usual unavailable bodies for the Sixers, Kelly Oubre, Jr. (shoulder) and KJ Martin (ankle) are both questionable.

On the Sixers’ side, we have some things to watch. Will Kyle Lowry be back in the starting lineup alongside Tyrese Maxey? Can Buddy Hield catch fire again like in his first few games as a Sixer? Is Tobias Harris officially out of his funk or was that just a one-game mirage against Charlotte? We’ll get to see it all along with a nationally-televised audience, something that hasn’t gone well for the Sixers lately. Hopefully, Philadelphia will have better luck this afternoon, as they look to pull off the upset on the road.

Game Details

Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Dallas Mavericks
When: 1:00pm ET
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
Watch: ABC

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