The Mavericks are losers in seven of their last ten games and find themselves just 2.5 games away from being out of the Play-In. They have been overwhelmingly injured for months but are slowly seeing players return. Kyrie Irving is expected to make his return Monday so we could see a Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving backcourt for the first time in two weeks.
On the other side, the 76ers just lost their reigning MVP, Joel Embiid, for an extended period with a torn meniscus. Philadelphia is a much different team without him and has only won four of the 14 games he has missed this year. Can Dallas take advantage of the shorthanded 76ers and earn a much-needed road victory? Here are three things to watch for as that question gets answered.
The return of Kyrie Irving
Irving has averaged 25 points, five assists, and five rebounds this season. The Mavericks have been missing additional creation on offense and Irving has plenty of that. It has been the Luka Doncic show in the two weeks he has been out and Dallas has desperately needed healthy ball handlers. His presence puts a lot of pressure on the defense, and with Dallas’ defense as bad as it has been, they need as much offense as they can get.
Luka Doncic’s first win in Philadelphia
Doncic is winless in four tries at Wells Fargo Center. Not only has he never won there, but he’s never scored more than 24 points or shot over 46.2 percent. A win would do wonders for the Mavericks, but even a good game would help correct Doncic’s woes in the city of brotherly love.
A big night for the hometown kid
Tyrese Maxey is a Dallas (adjacent) native. His last two games against the Mavericks have seen him score 22 or more points and that total should be far below what he scores Monday night. Between Embiid being sidelined and Dallas passing up on drafting him, there should be plenty of incentive for him to show out. He averages more than 27 points per game without Embiid this year, including 51 on February 1st. The kid is talented and will be eager to show Dallas what they could have had.
How to watch
Dallas and Philadelphia will tip off at 6:00 CST and will be broadcast on Bally Sports Southwest.