Sixers vs. Mavericks: Betting preview, how to watch & predictions

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Maxey sixers
Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey (0) drives to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

The Philadelphia 76ers are at home tonight to take on the visiting Dallas Mavericks after losing to the Nets, 136-121, on Saturday night and then getting news that reigning league MVP Joel Embiid will miss significant time following his upcoming meniscus surgery. The Mavericks, equally desperate for a win, are coming into Philly looking to get back in the win column after losses to the Timberwolves and Bucks this past week.

Sixers game information

Who: Dallas Mavericks (26-23) at Philadelphia 76ers (30-18)

When: 7:00 pm EST

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBA League Pass, Bally Sports Southwest & New Orleans

The latest on the Sixers

The Sixers are in bad shape both physically and in terms of this season. With reigning league MVP Joel Embiid on the court, the Sixers have looked virtually unstoppable, cruising to a 26-8 record on the season. Without Embiid, the Sixers have a 4-10 record and play more like a lottery team, winning at the same pace as teams like the Charlotte Hornets and Portland Trail Blazers.

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Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) falls over Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) on an offensive foul by Embiid during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)

While the news that Embiid is likely to miss the remainder of the season and possibly the playoffs, if the Sixers can get there, the team is still dealing with injuries that have decimated them over the course of the past two months. While Embiid had battled knee and ankle issues recently, the Sixers have also been without starting guard De’Anthony Melton and key reserve forward Robert Covington, with both missing extended time. Starting forward Tobias Harris has been out and is listed as questionable for tonight’s game, while the other starting forward, Nico Batum, is out for the game.

While the Sixers have recently named All-Star Tyrese Maxey, that won’t be enough to climb the standings and secure a playoff spot. In the most recent game against the Brooklyn Nets, despite the 15-point loss, the Sixers were able to get quality minutes from young players, Jaden Springer, Kenyon Martin Jr., and Terquavion Smith, who combined for 39 points in limited minutes.

They have some upside as talented young players, but that’s not helping the Sixers now. Instead of getting minutes when the Sixers are blowing out opposing teams and being depth pieces, the players are now forced into playing extended minutes. All is not well in Philly.

The latest on the Mavericks

The Mavericks have been on a downhill slope for almost a month now. The Mavericks were 23-16 on January 12th of this year and in 6th place in a tight and tough Western Conference. Since then, the team has gone 3-7 and dropped down to 8th place, just slightly ahead of the Lakers. It hasn’t been good in Dallas for a while now.

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Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) celebrates his shot against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, in Atlanta. Doncic had 73 points on the night. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Luka Doncic has been out of this world for the Mavericks this season. He’s averaging 34.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 9.6 assists on the season. His scoring has been second in the league to Embiid for most of the year and has increased over the past few games as he’s had 40, 45, and 73 points in three of his last four games. While Doncic has been otherworldly this year, the same can’t be said for the rest of the team.

Guard Kyrie Irving has played well when he’s in the lineup, averaging 25.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists over the course of 27 games this year. The problem is that the Mavericks have played 49 games, with Irving missing almost half of them. As the team pictured the duo of Irving and Doncic to give them an edge in the Western Conference, the fact that Irving has missed so much time has obviously cost the team.

After the two big stars, the Mavericks have very little to keep them afloat. Players like Tim Hardaway Jr., Derrick Jones Jr., Dante Exum, and Dereck Lively II are all nice players, but they’re not enough to keep the Mavericks in contention as the conference features a greatly improved Minnesota Timberwolves team combined with defending champion Denver Nuggets and the surprising Oklahoma City Thunder. Those three would be enough for a team to have to go against and still say nothing about the Clippers, Suns, and Kings, who all sit above the Mavericks in the standings and boast vastly superior lineups.

What to watch for in Philly

While the league’s leading scorer, Joel Embiid, won’t be in the lineup for the near future and possibly the remainder of the season, the Mavericks have Luka, and he’s a show unto himself, each game and in each city he plays in. Doncic will put up big numbers, and against a depleted defensive unit missing three of its starters, he should have a field day in Philly.

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Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey (0) goes to the basket as Utah Jazz forward John Collins (20) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

For the Sixers, having Tyrese Maxey healthy and on the floor means there will be plenty of excitement, as the team hasn’t featured a guard with his speed and scoring ability since Allen Iverson was first in town. Not to say that Maxey is at the level of AI but he’s definitely shown this season that he can perform at a high level with the best of the league.

Tonight could be a shootout if Terquavion Smith gets going like he did against the Nets and gets some extended minutes, combining with Maxey, Paul Reed, and Jaden Springer to give the Sixers a fast and exciting lineup on both sides of the ball. The problem will come when they see how Luka plays. If they’re not able to defend him and, more importantly, contain him, they’re going to be in for a long night.

Let’s hope for a huge game from Maxey while getting some exciting play from Springer and Smith.

Prediction

Sixers 122 – Mavericks 127