Fresh off of arguably the most meaningful regular season victory in the past 20 years, the Sixers move on to a significantly less anticipated game. They’re set to host the Dallas Mavericks, winners of just 2 of their last 14 games, as Philly looks to extend their season best 13 game win streak.
While not the most intimidating of opponents on paper, the Mavs are exactly the kind of bad team that will be looking to play the role of spoiler for an early tip-off and look to bring home one last feel good win before they await their lottery fate. Now, seeing as how they have the leagues 4th worst record, you might suspect that the Mavericks are ‘tanking’, but don’t you worry I have received many an assurance from commissioner Adam Silver that there has been absolutely no evidence. We could never, ever have such an abomination as tanking in our league, it would be damning to the integrity of the game, or spirit of the sport, or or .... blah.
But, yeah. The TANKING DALLAS MAVERICKS are now visiting the mecca of the tank, the Wells Fargo Center. Where they’re meeting a blazing Sixers team in hot pursuit of the Eastern Confernce’s 3-seed. No Joel Embiid, ahvsly, so again the Sixers will rely on their emerging superstar Benjamin Simmons to lead the way. Simmons of course has been incredible as of late, posting these numbers since Embiid went down with an orbital fracture.
What a game.— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) April 7, 2018
Ben Simmons in the last five without Embiid: 18.2 points, 10.4 assists, 10.6 rebounds per game. Shooting 64.6% (!) from the field. Sixers 5-0 during that stretch.
The Sixers can clinch home court advantage for the first round of the playoffs today with either a win or an Indiana loss. It’s also crucial that they secure the victory, and maintain their slim lead over the Cavaliers for the 3 seed in the East, as the Cavs would hold the tiebreaker.
The Mavs will roll out a lineup that features promising rookie (and consistent highlight dunker) Dennis Smith Jr. and inexplicably-maxed small forward Harrison Barnes surrounded by a patchwork of players trying to more or less gain their footing in the league. Most notable to Philly fans will be the high-key absence of Nerlens Noel who was recently suspended for the duration of the season for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy. I for one, will not be leaving Nerlens island under any circumstances, but the property value is dwindling.
With all that being said, lets get after it! Sixers are going for 14-straight and 50 (!) wins, both of which would’ve shocked even the most optimistic of us before the season opener. Lets rock.
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Place: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Vegas: Sixers -13, O/U: 216