Four-Pointer: Previewing the Philadelphia 76ers

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

After a surprising start, the Sixers sit atop the Atlantic Division as they come to Dallas to play the Mavericks Monday night.

What did the Sixers do over the summer?

They traded for Nerlens Noel on draft day. That doesn't really matter, though. Philadelphia was in full blow tank mode over the summer. The Noel trade sent Jrue Holiday to New Orleans. "Sweet" Lou Williams went to Atlanta. Andrew Bynum went to LOL. Heck, they even brought in a new coach. However, none of that really matters. They have MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS! But he is hurt and that is all the sads.

Which 76ers player might be due for a big game?

The aforementioned Michael Carter-Williams is in a walking boot, otherwise he would be the player to watch.Therefore, Evan Turner will draw the focus of the Mavs' defense. Turner has been solid as long as he doesn't take too many 3-pointers. He isn't very good at those. (14.3 percent on the season.) But he has been shooting at a high percentage on his 2-point attempts. If the Sixers hope to stay in the game, Turner will have to have a big game.

What's the biggest matchup to watch?

Spencer Hawes and DeJuan Blair. Trust me on this one. (Or don't, whatever.) Hawes is Philly's second leading scorer, leading rebounder, and leads the team in made threes. He's their center. Since Samuel Dalembert defends better around the rim, Blair should be tasked with guarding Hawes. It won't be an easy task. Likewise, Hawes will have trouble keeping Blair off the offensive glass and Blair's physical play is always a challenging cover.

What have the Sixers done lately?

Don't look at their game against the Pelicans. Just don't look at it. If you must know, it looked a lot like this.

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