The Philadelphia 76ers and the Dallas Mavericks are fighting for one of the four conference spots that will bring them the home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs and the outcome of this game will play a major role in that fight. Both teams have superstar players who can win the game on their own which guarantees a fun game on Friday evening.
The Philadelphia 76ers have moved to second place in the Eastern Conference with a 41-25 record, 2.5 games behind the leading Miami Heat.
Acquiring James Harden has proved to be the right move even though the Sixers paid quite an expensive price for the former MVP as they sent Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond and Seth Curry to Brooklyn. Harden has adapted very well in the Sixers lineup and has paired one of the best duos in the league with Joel Embiid.
The Cameroonian center is among the top three candidates to win the MVP award this season as he is third in the league averaging 29.7 points per game with 11.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. He also has excellent shooting percentages with 48.9% from the field, 35.5% from the three-point line and 81.9% from the free-throw line. Harden is at 22.5 points per game for the season but has scored at least 33 points in two of the last three games for the Sixers. After winning five straight games with scoring at least 123 points per game, including a win over the defending champions Milwaukee Bucks, the Sixers have lost two of the next four games.
The Sixers defeated the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the Orlando Magic, 116-114 in overtime in their last game. Joel Embiid had another huge night with 35 points and 16 rebounds. The Sixers are ranked 20th in the NBA with 108.5 points per game and are the best free-throw shooting team in the league with 82%. What hurts them the most is the rebounding since they are ranked 29th in the league with only 42.2 rebounds per game.
The Dallas Mavericks have emerged as one of the ‘dark horse’ contenders in the West. They are currently fifth in the Western Conference with a 42-26 record, 12 games behind the leading Phoenix Suns.
Luka Doncic is the leader of the team as the 23-year-old is having another amazing season as he is the fifth-best scorer in the league with 28.1 points per game and is also fifth in assists with 8.6 dimes per game.
The Mavs were also active before the NBA trade deadline as they dealt Kristaps Porzingis to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. The trade proved to be a great deal for the Mavs as Dinwiddie took over some of the load of Doncic’s back and has provided leadership and experience at both guard positions. The Latvian forward Davis Bertans has a bigger role with the Mavs than he had with the Wizards and so far he has been very productive coming off the bench.
The Mavs have won 7 of the last 8 games and have defeated the Boston Celtics 95-92 on the road in their last game. Spencer Dindiddie hit the crucial three-pointer in the last minute and finished the game with 18 points. Doncic once again was the best player on the court with 26 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists.
The Mavs are ranked 26th in the league with 106.8 points per game. A fun fact is that the Mavs are not among the top 15 teams in the league in any major stats category.
Our tip for the Philadelphia 76ers vs. Dallas Mavericks game
The Mavericks are quite good road team as they are 19-14 this season and proved to be very dangerous towards Eastern Conference teams since they have already won in Miami, Boston and Toronto. Luka Doncic is unstoppable on the offensive end scoring at will both from outside or inside and dishing passes to open shooters as the opponents often choose to double team him. Still, Doncic will not be able to take Mavs over the Sixers simply because Philly has more players that can make a difference. Joel Embiid will not have a matchup against Dallas since he is much taller and stronger than Dwight Powell or Maxi Kleber who will try to defend him. Harden is not consistent but will anyway add his 20 points. Tobias Harris is another player who can make a difference for the home team as his versatility makes him one of the best players in the league that nobody talks about. Anyway, The Sixers will win this one and maybe get on top of the Eastern Conference with this win.
Prediction: Philadelphia 76ers to win