Road Trip Closes in Dallas

by Lauren Rosen

An ultra-heavy road streak closes for the 76ers (36-17) Monday, as they visit the Dallas Mavericks (29-23).

Having spent nine of their last 11 games on the road, the Sixers will return to Philadelphia following Monday’s matchup for a well-earned four-game homestand.

The team’s meeting with the Mavericks comes on the heels of a dominant shorthanded performance against Oklahoma City Saturday, topping the Thunder, 117-93, in the absence of Tobias Harris (right knee soreness) and Danny Green (left hip soreness).

Furkan Korkmaz and Matisse Thybulle filled in for the veterans in the starting lineup Saturday, and each doing his part in setting the team’s hallmark defensive tone.

Korkmaz grabbed a career-high five steals, while Thybulle snagged three. The Thunder tallied three steals as a team.

“Every time you’re on the floor, you have to make something happen - and I thought Furk did that tonight,” Doc Rivers said postgame.

Korkmaz also scored a season-high 20 points (including four 3-pointers). He said his offensive performance started on defense.

“Like Doc says every time, we’ve got to start with the defense,” Korkmaz said postgame. “When you get a steal, when you play good defense, that affects your offense too. That also motivates me.”

The Sixers are second in the league in defensive rating (106.6), steals (8.9 spg), and blocks (6.3 bpg).

Korkmaz says Green has been a major influence on the team’s collective defensive spirit:

“I like Danny’s mentality on defense. He’s trying to be a team defensive player - that’s what I really learn from Danny. He’s got rings, he’s got experience, we’ve all got to be hungry to listen to him.”

The fourth-year Korkmaz says he’s also learned lots from the second-year Thybulle.

“Matisse is special. He’s really special. His defensive ability is out of the roof. There’s a lot to learn from him, because he can bring different vision to the defense…. He’s chasing like he’s crazy. He has really different defensive skills. I’m trying to learn from him.”

Monday’s matchup tips at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Opponent Outlook:

Dallas will host the Sixers on the second night of its back-to-back after falling, 119-117 to San Antonio Sunday.

The Sixers won their first meeting with the Mavs this season, 111-97, Feb. 25 in South Philadelphia.

The Mavs won six of their last eight outings, including a win over the Bucks, 116-101, on Thursday.

Luka Doncic leads the way for the Mavericks across the board this season, leading the team in scoring (28.5 ppg), rebounds (8.2 rpg), assists (8.7 apg), and steals (1.0 spg).

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