As will surely be mentioned a thousand times over before the game, the Mavericks blew out the Sixers by 53 points last time the two met. It was a few weeks ago and the stats coming from that were just ridiculous. Like, seriously, come on.
Things are a little different. The Mavericks are coming off the front end of a tough back-to-back win against Toronto; they played a lot of minutes; they aren't at home. The offense has been sputtering of late, although Friday's 106 points in a win helps alleviate some of those fears.
The Sixers are now 0-15, and that hurts me. 0-15 is barely a stat that even belongs in sports. You can go 0-15 in baseball during terrible slump; you can go 0-15 in soccer if you're Belgium and the keeper is Tim Howard. In very few other instances is 0-15 ever permitted -- go 0-10 (or less) or so as a quarterback, a kicker, an NBA shooter, a hockey forward or a volleyball outside hitter, and you'll probably get benched before you can reach 15.
The point is this: the 76ers are very bad, but 0-15 is reaching the limits of how bad an NBA team can be. They can't go 0-82. They probably can't go 5-77, although we'll see about that. A 2K simulation of Kentucky during an NBA regular season had them going 7-75, and the Sixers beat Kentucky in five games. For what it's worth, one of the seven wins came against the Mavericks.
All Dallas has to do is make sure they're not the ones who slip up. Smash the Sixers on Saturday and you're done with them for the rest of the season. Tony Wroten sprained his knee and probably won't even be playing! There's no need for analysis other than this: the Mavericks are a much, much better team than Philadelphia. If you leave Philly open from 3, it's OK -- they only have two players shooting better than 36 percent, and six shooting below 30 percent. Wright or Tyson get into foul trouble? It should be fine because Nerlens Noel doesn't have a post game.
Goddamnit, Mavs are going to lose this, aren't they?
Game time: 6 p.m. CT
Game channel: FSSW
Game location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania