What to Watch: 76ers-Mavericks
Following a split two-game series against the Toronto Raptors, the Sixers travel back home to host the Dallas Mavericks tonight at 7:00. Dallas holds a record of 15-15, fresh off a massive win over the Boston Celtics. Currently, they are just outside of the eighth seed in the West. Philly will be hoping to find their groove again after that difficult series against the Raptors and hopefully returning to health.
Here are three things to watch tonight:
Return of Josh Richardson:
One of the first moves Daryl Morey made when joining the Sixers was moving Josh Richardson to the Mavericks for Seth Curry. Curry has been a considerable part of the Sixers success and a perfect fit alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. J-Rich is having a slightly down year compared to last season, averaging almost 13 points on 43% shooting.
Richardson has been a nice pairing next to Luka Doncic and was a big piece of their win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. His defense could pose a bit of a threat to the Sixers backcourt but shouldn’t be a major disruption to the offense’s overall flow. Josh played 53 games with the Sixers last season, averaging nearly 14 points in a bit over 30 minutes a game.
Since Shake Milton has returned from injury, the Sixers’ bench hasn’t had much time together, with Furkan Korkmaz replacing Curry in the starting lineup on Tuesday. The last month has been brutal for the bench unit, with the group being outscored by one opposing bench player three times in the previous two weeks. Hopefully if Curry returns tonight. Getting Shake Milton back together with Korkmaz and Maxey for more minutes can help bring some production.
Tyrese Maxey has hit a rookie wall over the last month. In his last 11 games, Maxey has only scored over ten points once and did not play the previous two games against the Raptors. With this upsetting play, Maxey has lost many of his minutes to Isaiah Joe and Matisse Thybulle and is currently on the outside looking in. Hopefully, he can find his groove sometime soon and help contribute in a decent role for Philly.
Advantage for Joel Embiid:
Dallas has been suffering several injuries to their frontcourt over the last few weeks. Center Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber aren’t expected to play against the Sixers. These injuries have forced the Mavs to play Dwight Powell and Willie Cauley-Stein major minutes while waiting for Kristap’s return.
Following a rough two-game stretch for the MVP candidate, this is the perfect opportunity for Joel to find his rhythm again. In Embiid’s last game against the Mavericks, who started Powell against him, he scored 33 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in a dominant effort.
Luka Doncic has had a fantastic stretch of recent and will be a formidable foe for the Sixers. Despite that, I wouldn’t expect the Mavericks to pose much of a threat to the Sixers, who are finally returning to full health.
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports