76ers-Mavericks Preview

The Associated Press

The Dallas Mavericks are starting a three-game homestand Monday night against what could be the perfect opponent.

The Mavericks are 4-0 at home, where they have captured seven straight meetings with a Philadelphia 76ers team that lost by 37 in its previous contest.

Dallas (6-4) gained a split of a two-game trip with a 108-100 victory at Orlando on Saturday. The Mavericks had a season-low eight turnovers after they had 24 the previous night in a 110-104 loss at Miami.

"We've remedied some of our problems from last night, took care of the ball better, and I thought we spaced the floor well," coach Rick Carlisle said.

The 76ers (5-6) can't be confident since they haven't won in Dallas since Jan. 29, 2005. More disturbing is how they played over the weekend.

Philadelphia opened this three-game trip with a 113-103 loss at Atlanta on Friday before Saturday's 135-98 defeat in New Orleans.

The 76ers surrendered their most points since a 136-104 loss at Atlanta on April 19, 1997, in a meaningless season finale. It was their worst defeat since a 121-76 loss to Chicago on Dec. 21, 2010.

First-year coach Brett Brown emptied his bench as the Pelicans became the first team to shoot over 60.0 percent against the 76ers since the Bulls in that aforementioned contest.

"I decided to sit our more senior players and let those young guys play it out," Brown said. "We have another game in Dallas and when we play back-to-back, it is hard."

The new-look Mavericks seem to be gelling. Monta Ellis led six players in double figures with 19 points Saturday and fellow newcomer DeJuan Blair and Dirk Nowitzki each added 18.

"We got that win and now we can build off of it and hopefully during this home stretch we can get a couple of wins," Ellis said.

Nowitzki, who had a season-high 28 points Friday, has made seven of 11 3-pointers in the last two games.

"He's hot," Carlisle said. "He's been hitting 3s. Guys are finding him, so we're obviously going to always look for him."

The Mavs have five players who average double figures in points, just like the Sixers.

That's how many players scored in double digits Saturday for Philadelphia, but Evan Turner surprisingly wasn't one of them. Turner, averaging a career-best 21.6 points, was held to a season-low four on 2-of-11 shooting with no foul shots for the first time.

"I just think as a team, we all in general need to try and start distributing because they were doubling and showing on my plays," Turner said. "I was trying to go to the line and get a rhythm, but I didn't get to the line."

These are among the NBA's highest-scoring teams with Dallas averaging 106.6 points and Philadelphia 104.5.

One factor to watch is that the Mavericks are averaging 10.2 steals, among the league's best. The Sixers allow 10.1 steals per game for one of the NBA's worst averages, but that's still better than Dallas' 10.2 mark.

Philadelphia's Michael Carter-Williams could miss a fourth straight game with a foot injury. He led all rookies in scoring at 17.4 points per game before getting hurt.

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