Elton Brand returns to Philadelphia to face the 76ers after the Mavs endured a blowout loss at home to the Lakers. Meanwhile, Philly is a respectable 8-6 without Andrew Bynum. While the Mavericks are experiencing feast or famine without Dirk Nowitzki, the Sixers seem to be faring a tad better without Bynum.
Philly doesn’t put a lot of points on the board but they play solid defense and outrebound their opponents. There is no one statistically outstanding to point to…they are led by Jrue Holiday who put sup 18.6 ppg followed by 6 other guys ranging from around 8 to 13 points. Most importantly the 76ers have been able to post some wins against good teams—they are 3-4 against teams over .500 while the Mavs are 1-2 and the rest of their losses are against subpar squads. Philly has dominated those teams 5-2.
The Mavs have struggled on defense even more than last year, which is somewhat surprising considering the presence of Brand, Shawn Marion, Dahntay Jones and Bernard James. Losing Delonte West didn’t help but doesn’t explain the drastic change other than perhaps an influx of new players having a difficult time playing team defense. With Philly averaging in the high 80’s to low 90’s most games, one hopes they won’t be scoring over 100 points against the Mavs but judging by the season so far, anything can happen.
The Mavs will need to again try to be on their rebounding best because otherwise it may be a long night. The Sixers aren’t shooting that well (42.2%) but a zillion second chances make it less of a concern.
Game time is 6:00 CST.