What to watch: 76ers-Mavericks
The 76ers are back in action tonight following a much-needed win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Joel Embiid and company are traveling to Dallas to face the Mavericks on national television, a game that was flexed over Knicks-Lakers less than a week ago. The Sixers will have four straight games on ESPN, beginning tonight, starting one of their most challenging stretches this season. Here are some things to keep an eye on during tonight’s game.
Ben Simmons shooting:
Ben used Saturday’s game against the Thunder to work out some pieces of his game that he isn’t often given a chance to do. On two separate occasions, Simmons nailed mid-range jump shots without any hesitation, and they looked gorgeous. Following the game, both Joel Embiid and Doc Rivers commented about wanting Ben to be a more aggressive player on offense.
When these two teams faced off in late February, Simmons had 15 points regular showing for him on offense. But on defense, he completely locked down Mavs star Luka Doncic, allowing Luka just 19 points. Hopefully, tonight with all the eyes on Ben, he can bring it on both ends of the court.
Joel finding his groove:
Since Joel returned a few games ago, he has been a bit streaky. In the first few games against Boston and Minnesota, his post presence wasn’t entirely there, and he drew fouls to get his points. During just those two games, Embiid went to the line a ridiculously high 37 times.
Against the Pelicans, Embiid looked really out of it and worked in the mid-range almost the game’s entirety. On Saturday, Joel looked to be returning to normalcy and is shaking off that injury rust. This slow start isn’t much cause for concern and is par for the course with any significant injury, so Joel should be back in MVP form every night very soon.
End of the Mike Scott Hive:
Finally, after a way too long period Mike Scott might be out of the rotation for good. Philly recently signed forward Anthony Tolliver to a ten-day contract, and if he lives up to expectations, should take all of Scott’s minutes. It isn’t known if Tolliver will be able to clear protocol to play tonight, but the hive’s days are numbered.
For almost the entire duration of the season, Scott has been unbearable to watch and was unfortunately not moved at the NBA trade deadline in place of Tony Bradley. The Sixers’ lack of a decent forward off the bench has gotten so bad to the point where Mike Scott had to guard Zion Williamson for extended periods. Philadelphia will greatly need Tolliver’s presence during the final stretches of their season.
The Sixers took care of Dallas with ease a few months back, but Dallas did not have big Kristaps Porzingis. Adding Kristaps into the equation shouldn’t change much for the Sixers, and Embiid will take care of him with ease. Tip-off is at 7:30, and stay tuned to The Liberty Line for all of your Sixers updates.
Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports