Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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NBA Preview: Dallas Mavericks (26-23) at Philadelphia Sixers (30-18)

The Philadelphia 76ers realized how difficult a task it can be to play without the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player.

Joel Embiid sat out again Saturday with a lateral meniscus injury in his left knee, and the Sixers were blitzed 136-121 by the Brooklyn Nets.

While the Sixers haven’t made a formal announcement, it’s likely that Embiid will be sidelined for a long stretch, including Monday’s home matchup against the Dallas Mavericks. Embiid sustained the injury last week against the Golden State Warriors.

Terquavion Smith scored a career-high 17 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 16 for the Sixers, who never led in the lopsided loss.

Aside from Embiid, the Sixers’ Tobias Harris was out with an illness and injuries sidelined De’Anthony Melton, Nicolas Batum and Robert Covington.

With such a depleted roster, defensive execution and better shot selection are both imperative.

Coach Nick Nurse said that shots were being taken at a faster pace than he would have liked.

The Mavericks arrive in Philadelphia hoping to snap a two-game losing streak.

Following a 121-87 blowout loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Mavericks were ousted 129-117 by the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.

Luka Doncic produced another stellar, all-around game with 40 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. But Doncic spent a brief period in the locker room in the first quarter after tweaking his ankle. Immediately after the game, coach Jason Kidd said that Doncic’s ankle would be re-evaluated before the game against the Sixers.

Maxi Kleber scored 21 points, Josh Green added 20 and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 18 for the Mavericks, who were unable to hold an early 25-point advantage.

Kyrie Irving missed the game with a sprained right thumb. Irving has played only 27 games and is averaging 25.2 points, 5.3 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game.

Doncic, who has struggled with his fiery demeanor this season, received another technical after being whistled for a foul against Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Kidd said Doncic and the team “have to be better” at controlling emotions.

Kleber agreed.

Dante Exum (knee) and Dereck Lively II (nose) also sat out for Dallas.

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