NBA game of the week: Mavericks at 76ers
In a battle of east versus west, the Philadelphia 76ers host the Dallas Mavericks with only a couple of weeks left in the NBA regular season.
This game not only has individual stakes, but implications for the whole league in playoff standings. Here are some reasons to get excited about this matchup.
First, the Sixers are coming off a three-game losing streak, due to the Suns, Nuggets and Warriors.
These losses not only hurt the Sixers in their individual standings but also hurt the Mavericks because they’re looking to move up in the West.
Speaking of hurt, the Sixers have a few key players injured. MVP candidate, Joel Embiid, is out with calf soreness and will not play. Also, starting point guard James Harden will not play due to an achilles injury.
Although Harden is listed as out, reports on Tuesday morning said he could be moved to a game-time decision. Head Coach of the Sixers, Doc Rivers says he is “optimistic,” about Harden’s return.
With a lot of Philly injuries, the Sixers are turning to Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris to step up
when it matters.
Maxey has recently stepped up averaging 21.8 points per game and 3.8 rebounds. Notably, Maxey has also shot 53% from the field.
Harris is accumulating about 15 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Both players are trying their best to fill their top two players’ shoes.
The Mavericks are hoping to jump up in seeding in the West. Coming off a dominant win against the Pacers, the Mavs hope to keep that momentum going coming into the last few weeks of the regular season.
Unlike the Sixers, the Mavericks are not slowed down by injuries. The only injury listed for this game for Dallas is Maxi Kleber, who does not play nearly as many minutes as Harden and Embiid.
Kleber is listed as day-to-day, meaning he could even play Wednesday’s game. Kleber is averaging 6.1 points per game and 3.8 rebounds per game.
This shouldn’t be a huge loss for the Mavs.
The Mavericks are led by another MVP candidate, Luka Doncic - arguably the best point guard in the league.
Doncic is averaging 32.9 points per game, ranking 2nd in the league, next to, you guessed it, Joel Embiid.
Doncic is also sixth in assists averaging 8.1 and is expected to have a huge game. He historically has had impressive games against Philadelphia.
The Mavericks are ranked No. 11 in the West and have a record just under .500 at 37-39.
Dallas is hoping to find that No.10 spot to make the playoffs, or at least the play-in game.
Fortunately for the Mavs, they are only a half-game back from the tenth spot occupied by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
For the 76ers, they are less worried about making the playoffs, in fact, they have already clinched a spot. Playoff seeding has been the main focus for Philly.
The Sixers rank third in the east but are a few games away from both the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, being three games and five games back, respectively.
It’s going to take a lot of work for them to move up.
There is a lot at stake for these two teams, and certainly, a matchup to look forward to. The game will be televised on ESPN on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. to see two big teams battle it out.
Nick Volpe is a first-year majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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