The Philadelphia 76ers will continue life without Joel Embiid for “time unknown but at least a good long while” tonight when they play host to the Dallas Mavericks. The big man is undergoing a procedure on his left meniscus, but at least the door isn’t closed on his returning this season. Yay?
If you were hoping for word that the Sixers’ roster would be more intact than what we saw in Saturday night’s loss to Brooklyn, well, I don’t have much good news for you. In addition to Embiid, De’Anthony Melton, Nic Batum, and Robert Covington all remain out. Tobias Harris is questionable with an illness, and his potential participation is the only thing possibly keeping us from another edition of Tyrese Maxey and the bench brigade.
If there’s any silver lining and you’re not just curled up into a ball muttering “displaced flap” already, the Mavericks are a bit banged up as well. Dante Exum is out with right knee bursitis, as is Dereck Lively II with a broken nose. The Philly native and 12th overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft has been impactful in his rookie year; Dallas is 22-14 when Lively plays, and 4-9 when he is out. Additionally, Maxi Kleber is questionable with a toe injury, Kyrie Irving is probable after being out since January 22 with a sprained thumb, and Luka Doncic is questionable with ankle soreness. Mavs, as much as I’d like to watch Luka play, this might be a prime load management spot. Better safe than sorry, right?
Similar to the Sixers, the Mavericks are in a bit of a tailspin of late due to all the injuries. They are 2-6 in their last eight games and have dropped to 8th place in the Western Conference at 26-23. Here were the vibes from Dallas’ home loss on Saturday to Milwaukee:
Mark Cuban isn’t pleased with officiating, so he walks over to talk to his old pal Bennett Salvatore, who is sitting behind press row. Cuban, with a bit of sarcasm: “Bennett, we need you!”— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) February 4, 2024
Ultimately, the state of the opponent is largely irrelevant until the Sixers either get some regulars back or Maxey goes nuclear for a 50-piece. I also understand if the Embiid situation has you entirely too bummed about Sixers basketball in general to tune in. Philadelphia is 4-10 without Joel this season, after all.
Still, maybe Luka plays and we have an epic battle with he and Kyrie trading shots on one end with Maxey matching them on the other? Or the Hospital Sixers play like they did against Boston and Denver this season, but this time carry it across the finish line in the final four minutes? I can’t say I have a ton of optimistic slants for you, but hey, we survived the early Process years, we can survive this. If nothing else, we’ll always have Terq time.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Dallas Mavericks
When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: The Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic