Seriously: who is this team? And what did they do with the Dallas Mavericks?
They started at the bottom, now they’re here
Dated Drake reference aside, this is a good way of describing the season for both the Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers. Both got off to a really rough start, but suddenly are showing signs of turning things around. After losing to teams like the lowly Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves in early January, Dallas has won 4 of their last 5, and 7 of their last 10, with that stretch reaching its zenith over the weekend, when Dallas beat the Spurs and defending champ Cavaliers on back-to-back nights, despite dealing with more injuries and a revolving door of point guards on 10 day contracts. Meanwhile...
No need for Embiid?
For the 76ers, of course, even a hint of success is much more than a few months coming. After years of enduring(even enjoying, ‘cuz they’re weird that way) "The Process", Philly fans are finally getting some actual wins to cheer about. The major catalyst for the turnaround has been "rookie" Joel Embiid, a sensation in his first healthy season. Unfortunately, Embiid will miss Wednesday’s matchup with the Mavs, but while earlier Philly looked like a mess without the big man, lately they’ve done alright, winning three of their last four games with him out. The 76ers have a stockpile of frontcourt talent even sans-Embiid, including fellow premium picks Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, as well as sharpshooter Ersan Ilyasova and Croatian import Dario Saric.
I’ll try to avoid any bear puns here, since most of them have already been claimed, but the rookie PG from Indiana is quickly becoming a story. Yogi Ferrell outplayed Kyrie Irving Monday, and since as of this writing their has been no word of Deron Williams returning to action, we’ll go ahead and work on the assumption that Ferrell will stick in the starting lineup. The diminutive ex-Hoosier had a superb college career, so his success at this level shouldn’t be a shock, even if one could point out he was dropped by the talent-starved Brooklyn Nets. Still, what is clear is that the offensive talent in Dallas has allowed Ferrell to operate more freely, and get better looks from outside, where he’s been a consistent threat both as an amateur (shot over 40 percent in each of his three last three years in college), and in the D-League (right at 40 percent from three in 18 games with the Long Island Nets).
How to watch
The action is scheduled to get underway at 8:30 Eastern Time, 7:30 Central, and can be viewed on Fox Sports Southwest or through your League Pass account. Enjoy!