Game Night: Sixers @ Mavericks
Tuesday, December 18, 8:30 PM (EST) at American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
12-12 (4th Atlantic, 9th East)
11-13 (4th Southwest, 11th West)
TV: Comcast SportsNet Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic FM | Live Stats
NOTE: The Comcast Network HD is now on XFinity® Channel 856
by Warren Croxton and Max Rappaport
Guard Jrue Holiday missed the Sixers' last two games with soreness of the longitudinal arch in his left foot. X-rays were taken and came back negative for a fracture. An MRI taken in the afternoon revealed a sprain.
He is a game-time decision for Tuesday's meeting with the Dallas Mavericks.
In Holiday's absence, head coach Doug Collins has gone with a starting lineup of Evan Turner, Jason Richardson, Nick Young, Thaddeus Young, and Kwame Brown
MATCHUP TO WATCH
G Vince Carter vs. G Nick Young
While "Vinsanity" is no longer the human highlight reel that he was for much of the last decade, the 6-6 guard provides the Dallas Mavericks with an offensive spark off the bench, averaging 12.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 23.7 minutes a night. For the eight-time All-Star, playing a reserve role is something new - this is the first time the 35-year-old hasn't entered a season as a starter. Similarly to former two-time Slam Dunk Champion and first-year Sixer Jason Richardson, Carter has tweaked his game to account for the ill-effects of wear and tear on his body. The former Tar Heel now attempts 49.2% of his shots from beyond the arc (40.2 3P%), the highest ratio of his 15-year career. Despite posting strong numbers 24 games into the 2012-13 season, Carter has struggled offensively in his team's last six games. After scoring in double figures in six consecutive games earlier in the year, he’s averaged just 8.5 points on 34.0% from the floor and 32.0% from beyond the arc in Dallas’ most recent six.
With starting point guard Jrue Holiday (sprained left foot) nursing an injury, microwave scorer Nick Young has been called upon to enter the starting lineup in the Sixers' last two games. The USC alum went off against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, in what was just his second start of the season. Young played over 40 minutes for the first time this season and scored a season-high 30 points (12-of-23 FGM-A, 6-of-12 3PM-A). The 27-year-old guard, who signed with Philly as a free agent this summer, missed four games earlier this month, with a toe injury.
When these two teams met earlier this season, on November 27, Vince Carter went three-of-five from downtown, finishing with 15 points in a losing effort. This season, the slasher-turned-sharpshooter is attempting over 5 threes a game (5.1) for the first time since the 2006-07 season (5.3); he's attempting more threes per minute than he has in any prior season. Despite the increase, he’s very efficient shooting his highest percentage from that distance since the 2004-05 season. The Sixers have allowed their opponents to shoot the seventh-highest three-point percentage in the league (37.1%), but it's an area that head coach Doug Collins has emphasized to his player as of late. Closing out on Carter will be key Tuesday night.
We're Not So Different, You and I
After winning four of five games earlier in the season, the Dallas Mavericks have lost three in a row, falling to 11-13 on the season. The Sixers, too, have lost three straight. The Mavs are home for a brief two-game home stand, starting Tuesday night, before heading back on the road, where they have struggled mightily this year. Dallas is 7-3 at home and only 4-10 on the road. For the Sixers, this game marks the beginning of a stretch of 10 of 11 games being road contests. Philly, though, has had more success away from home, going 4-5 on the road, thus far.
No Dirk, No Problem?
With superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki (offseason knee surgery) still yet to return to practice, Dallas has altered their offensive game plan, speeding up the pace this season. They're averaging about 94.2 possessions per 48 minutes, second-highest in the league. It’s the first time that the franchise has ranked in the top ten in pace since the 2004-05 season. The increase in pace has allowed them to improve their scoring from 95.8 points per game last season (19th) to 99.9 (9th) this season. Despite a marked improvement in overall scoring, the Mavs' offense has been slightly below average in terms of efficiency this season, ranking 17th in the NBA in offensive rating (103.5).
Hold the Mayo
After only scoring 11 points in Dallas' November 27 meeting with Philadelphia (his second-lowest total of the season, to date), guard OJ Mayo has continued to put together a season that has made him a front-runner for the league's Most Improved Player award. In nine games since the Mavs and Sixers met, the former third-overall pick is averaging 19.8 points (47.4 FG%, 48.9 3P%), 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. The USC alum has career highs in basically every statistical category this season – 20.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.5 APG, 48.2 FG%, and 51.2 3P% (best in the league).
LAST TIME THEY MET
11/27/2012 – Dallas 98, Philadelphia 100
Swingman Evan Turner’s 22 points led the way for the Sixers, as a Jae Crowder three-point attempt fell short at the final buzzer to give Philadelphia a two-point win. Dallas saw six players score in double figures, including Chris Kaman, who led the way with 20 points. The Mavs' bench scored 48 points, led by former Sixer Elton Brand’s 17. The Sixers held OJ Mayo, who was averaging 21.5 points per game heading into the game, to just 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting. It was his lowest scoring total of the season up to that point.