The last six games for the Philadelphia 76ers have not been so promising. Ever since their impressive win on Christmas day, the Sixers have been knocked way off of their high horse. They followed the victory over the Bucks with a four-game losing streak on the road.
Fortunately, they bounced back with two wins at home — but they can’t play in South Philly forever. After defeating the Boston Celtics on Thursday, the Sixers boarded a flight to Dallas, Texas, on Friday afternoon to gear up for a Saturday night matchup with the Mavericks.
And for the ninth time this season, the Sixers won’t have their star center, Joel Embiid, joining them. After tearing a ligament in his left hand, Embiid had to take his own trip to New York to undergo surgery. Now, he will miss at least one-to-two weeks’ worth of games.
The timing couldn’t be any worse for the Sixers, as they look to try and climb out of their mini-slump. At the very least, their Thursday night win without Embiid over a tough Boston team was impressive, but the strength of the opponent doesn’t get any easier on Saturday.
The first meeting between Philly and Dallas occurred a few weeks back at the Wells Fargo Center. That’s when the Mavericks came to town and issued the Sixers their second home loss of the season with a comfortable 117-98 victory.
Knowing the results of the first meeting between the Sixers and the Mavericks doesn’t issue too much hope for an Embiid-less Sixers team. Fortunately, though, the Sixers aren’t the only team in the NBA to deal with injuries.
Like the Sixers, the Dallas Mavericks have been spending some time without their star big man, Kristaps Porzingis. As the former Knicks’ center continues to deal with knee issues, Porzingis has missed a significant chunk of games as of late.
While his return could be coming soon, Porzingis won’t have the opportunity to get back out on the court while the Sixers are in town. That’s good news for Philly, considering Porzingis managed to drop 22 points on them, along with grabbing 18 rebounds during their first meeting back in December.
Porzingis’ absence, however, doesn’t guarantee a win for the Sixers. Considering the Mavericks’ budding star, Luka Doncic wasn’t even available for them during the last December matchup, the Sixers don’t precisely know what they are going against quite yet.
Looking at the matchup from a positive angle, though, at least Philly and Dallas have similar issues in regards to which stars are out. That should even the playing field for both teams on Saturday night.