Wesley Matthews
Mavericks-76ers Preview
Wesley Matthews

Mavericks-76ers Preview

Published Nov. 15, 2015 2:30 p.m. ET

The Dallas Mavericks delivered perhaps their most impressive performance of the season without Dirk Nowitzki and two other starters last time out.

They may not need them again to continue their success.

Winners of three straight, the Mavericks resume their road trip Monday night against a Philadelphia 76ers team that hasn't won in nearly eight months.

Nowitzki was rested along with Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons on Saturday with Dallas (6-4) playing for the second time in two nights, but the Mavericks hardly looked short-handed in a 110-98 victory at Houston in which they never trailed and led by as many as 26.


Raymond Felton scored 23 points in Matthews' place and Charlie Villanueva added 19 filling in for Nowitzki, who was held to nine points in Friday's win over the Lakers after amassing a season-high 31 on 11-of-14 shooting in a 118-108 decision over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

"Any time you can come in someone else's building and get a win missing three of your starters, you know, that's big," Felton told the Mavericks' official website. "That shows what type of team that we have. Guys were able to step up, make plays and step in when guys need to rest up."

Dwight Powell also has been among those to raise his play, totaling 23 points and 21 rebounds over the last two wins. Along with Felton and Villanueva, the young forward has seen an increased role on a revamped bench corps that lost rotation members Al-Farouq Aminu, Richard Jefferson and Amar'e Stoudemire during the offseason.

With all of the regulars expected to be available Monday, motivation may be the biggest concern coming off a big win over the team that eliminated the Mavericks in the first round of last season's playoffs.

The ever-rebuilding 76ers don't pose much of a threat on paper, having lost 20 consecutive games - including an 0-10 start to this season - and ranking near the bottom of the NBA in scoring (91.1 ppg) and field-goal percentage.

Philadelphia, which last won March 25 at Denver, dropped a franchise-record 17 straight to begin 2014-15.

The Sixers also haven't fared well in this series, with Dallas winning eight of the last nine meetings and five straight since a 100-98 road loss on Nov. 27, 2012.

Jahlil Okafor remains a bright spot in what's shaping up as another dismal campaign for Philadelphia. The rookie center is averaging 19.2 points and had 21 with 12 rebounds in Saturday's 92-83 loss at San Antonio, scoring seven points during a 14-2 run that brought the 76ers within four with three minutes left.

''You have to give them credit, they made it hard until the end,'' Spurs guard Tony Parker said. ''That's just (coach) Brett Brown's team, they're always in games.''

Philadelphia's struggling offense could get a boost in the expected return of Robert Covington from a sprained knee that's limited him to just 22 minutes this season. The third-year small forward averaged 13.5 points and shot 37.4 percent from 3-point range in 2014-15.

Matthews compiled 42 points in two matchups with Philadelphia while with Portland last season.


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