The tipoff: Shorthanded Sixers set to square off against Mavericks

The Philadelphia 76ers are back on the road this weekend as they travel down to Texas in preparation to take on the Dallas Mavericks. The Sixers are entering the matchup with a record of 25-14 while the Mavs sit at 23-15. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 PM ET.

The two teams square off in completely different forms. The Sixers have won their last two including a statement victory over the Celtics, while the Mavs have dropped their last two including a brutal loss against a shorthanded Lakers squad.

Stories to Watch

Simmons v Doncic

In less than two years, Luka Doncic has developed himself into one of the best offensive players in the entire NBA. Rookie of the Year in 2018/2019, Doncic is now averaging 29.4 points, 8.9 assists, and 9.7 rebounds per game. He’s also shooting close to 50% from the field while averaging 9.1 free throw attempts per game. He has been the main driving force behind Dallas’ success this year.

Ben Simmons, on the other hand, has taken monumental steps on the defensive side of things. He leads the league in steals with 2.14, and has begun to grow a legit reputation as one of the best on-ball defenders in the NBA. Him matchup up one on one with Doncic will be must-see TV.

The Injury Bug

Both the Mavericks AND the Sixers are without their star big men tonight. Joel Embiid underwent surgery yesterday on his left and will miss the next couple weeks. Kristraps Porzingis is also out due to some lingering knee soreness. The Sixers have the benefit of slotting in newly signed Al Horford into the center spot, while the Mavs have struggled to fill Porzingis’ void over the last few games.

Another Test for Philly

Season opener against Boston. First game against the Heat at home. Bucks on Christmas Day. Boston without Embiid. This is the next in what’s becoming a long line of challenges this season, but do the Sixers have enough strength without Embiid to overcome it?

 Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

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