Mavericks-76ers Preview

The Dallas Mavericks have won five straight, but extending that

streak won’t be easy with a backcourt that’s becoming more depleted

by the day.

After a recent stretch that’s hardly lived up to their

expectations, the Philadelphia 76ers would love to take

advantage.

Jason Terry and Delonte West won’t be available Friday night in

Philadelphia as the Mavericks try to hand the 76ers a third

straight home loss.

Dallas (19-11) opened February with three consecutive losses in

which it was held to 88 points or fewer, but has gotten back on

track. The Mavericks have averaged 100.8 points in their five

straight wins, and they put six players in double figures and led

by as many as 31 in Wednesday’s 102-84 rout of Denver.

“(Depth) is the strength of our team,” Lamar Odom told the Mavs’

official website after scoring 14 points off the bench. “…

Everybody’s getting better and better as far as their game and

their conditioning. We’re having fun playing together.”

That depth will be tested in Philadelphia. Terry sat out

Wednesday because of a strained right quad – an injury that’s not

believed to be serious – and won’t play Friday due to personal

reasons. Rodrigue Beaubois didn’t play Wednesday after his father

passed away, leaving his status against the Sixers (20-10) in

doubt.

While Terry and Beaubois likely won’t be out too long, it

appears West will be. The Mavs’ top perimeter defender suffered a

gruesome injury to his right ring finger while playing defense

against the Nuggets, and according to coach Rick Carlisle, the

prognosis isn’t good.

“He’s going to be out for a while,” Carlisle said.

Those absences should provide a strong opportunity for perhaps

the league’s deepest team to get back on track after losing three

of five. Eight Philadelphia players average at least 8.9 points,

though a nagging Achilles strain is expected to keep starting

center Spencer Hawes (10.5 ppg) out until after the All-Star

break.

The 76ers lead the Atlantic Division thanks to a scoring defense

that’s among the league’s top three (87.3 points per game) and an

offense that takes care of the basketball. Philadelphia averages

10.5 turnovers, on pace for the fewest in a single season since the

league started keeping track in 1977-78.

Neither of those elements was working in Wednesday’s 103-87 loss

at Orlando as the Sixers had 14 turnovers and allowed the Magic to

knock down 15 of 25 from 3-point range.

Louis Williams, who had a team-high 21 points, was quickly

looking ahead to Friday, Philadelphia’s lone stop at the Wells

Fargo Center in an eight-game stretch.

“We have an opportunity to go back home and play a game against

the world champs and then get back out on the road,” said Williams,

who’s averaged 20.0 points in his last six games. “We are very

happy with where we are right now.”

The Sixers, however, aren’t exactly shining at home these days.

They’ve scored just 85.3 points per game in losing three of four in

Philadelphia, getting outrebounded by an average of 8.2.

The Mavericks had an average of 6.0 more boards than the Sixers

in sweeping last season’s series, though it was the backcourt that

led the way in Philadelphia on March 1. Terry had 30 points off the

bench while Jason Kidd recorded the most recent of his 107 career

triple-doubles – seven of which have come against the Sixers.