The 76ers will play the Mavericks in two games on Saturday after scoring two home wins against teams in playoff positions – one of them costing Joel Embiid, who will pause for the immediate future.
The tip is set at 8:30 p.m. ET. The Mavericks open as 2-point favorites, while the over / under is set to 223 points.
It's the second leg for the Mavericks after losing to Lakers 129-114 on Friday night. Saturday's game will be the third in four days for Dallas – they also lost to Nuggets 107-106 on Wednesday night. The 76ers are much more rested after having two days off since defeating the Celtics on Thursday evening.
The matchup consists of two of the league's most successful young stars – Ben Simmons and Luka Doncic. Both almost average triple doubles in the season, but in very different ways. Doncic is fatal behind the bow and takes more than nine 3-pointers a game. Simmons has only scored two goals in his career and preferred to score in the transition.
The absence of Embiid allowed the 76ers to experiment with different looks when defeating the Celtics. Simmons spent more time in color, often acting as a screener and roller and scoring points on the post rather than serving as the primary ball handler. Al Horford was allowed to deviate from his normal role as a spot-up shooter and be more creative, and Josh Richardson was more confident in his offensive game. Coach Brett Brown is likely to use some of these looks against the Mavericks again.
Though rusted after an injury in his first season, the Mavericks are sure to miss the production of Kristaps Porzingis. Dallas is 2-4 as Porzingis was out – the worst stretch of the season. Doncic was forced to carry an even larger offensive load. He's had a hard time lately and his shirt is torn in frustration at Friday's loss to the Lakers.
While the Mavericks didn't really make the American Airlines Center a big advantage this season with just 11:10 home games, the 76s had problems on the road just 7:12 minutes from Wells Fargo Center.
The Mavericks are 7: 13: 1 at home against the home record, while the 76ers compete against the away record this season with an 8:11 record. With an average of 116.3 points per game, the Mavericks are the team with the third highest score in the league. The 76ers score 109.8 points per game this season, but have to do without Embiid.
The Mavericks won 117-98 at their only other meeting this season. Dallas was without Doncic in that match.
Forecast: 76ers (+2), over 223.