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.