76ers-Mavericks Preview

The Dallas Mavericks are starting a three-game homestand Monday
night against what could be the perfect opponent.

The Mavericks are 4-0 at home, where they have captured seven
straight meetings with a Philadelphia 76ers team that lost by 37 in
its previous contest.

Dallas (6-4) gained a split of a two-game trip with a 108-100
victory at Orlando on Saturday. The Mavericks had a season-low
eight turnovers after they had 24 the previous night in a 110-104
loss at Miami.

“We’ve remedied some of our problems from last night, took care
of the ball better, and I thought we spaced the floor well,” coach
Rick Carlisle said.

The 76ers (5-6) can’t be confident since they haven’t won in
Dallas since Jan. 29, 2005. More disturbing is how they played over
the weekend.

Philadelphia opened this three-game trip with a 113-103 loss at
Atlanta on Friday before Saturday’s 135-98 defeat in New
Orleans.

The 76ers surrendered their most points since a 136-104 loss at
Atlanta on April 19, 1997, in a meaningless season finale. It was
their worst defeat since a 121-76 loss to Chicago on Dec. 21,
2010.

First-year coach Brett Brown emptied his bench as the Pelicans
became the first team to shoot over 60.0 percent against the 76ers
since the Bulls in that aforementioned contest.

“I decided to sit our more senior players and let those young
guys play it out,” Brown said. “We have another game in Dallas and
when we play back-to-back, it is hard.”

The new-look Mavericks seem to be gelling. Monta Ellis led six
players in double figures with 19 points Saturday and fellow
newcomer DeJuan Blair and Dirk Nowitzki each added 18.

“We got that win and now we can build off of it and hopefully
during this home stretch we can get a couple of wins,” Ellis
said.

Nowitzki, who had a season-high 28 points Friday, has made seven
of 11 3-pointers in the last two games.

“He’s hot,” Carlisle said. “He’s been hitting 3s. Guys are
finding him, so we’re obviously going to always look for him.”

The Mavs have five players who average double figures in points,
just like the Sixers.

That’s how many players scored in double digits Saturday for
Philadelphia, but Evan Turner surprisingly wasn’t one of them.
Turner, averaging a career-best 21.6 points, was held to a
season-low four on 2-of-11 shooting with no foul shots for the
first time.

“I just think as a team, we all in general need to try and start
distributing because they were doubling and showing on my plays,”
Turner said. “I was trying to go to the line and get a rhythm, but
I didn’t get to the line.”

These are among the NBA’s highest-scoring teams with Dallas
averaging 106.6 points and Philadelphia 104.5.

One factor to watch is that the Mavericks are averaging 10.2
steals, among the league’s best. The Sixers allow 10.1 steals per
game for one of the NBA’s worst averages, but that’s still better
than Dallas’ 10.2 mark.

Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams could miss a fourth
straight game with a foot injury. He led all rookies in scoring at
17.4 points per game before getting hurt.