The Philadelphia 76ers are a team with a lot of promise but are still figuring out how to put all the pieces together and close games in crunch time. The 76ers will try to bounce back from a tough loss and execute better down the stretch when they visit the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.
Philadelphia looked to be on the verge of back-to-back wins before going scoreless over the final three minutes and giving up a last-second 3-pointer in a 105-104 loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. “I think we let one slip,” 76ers coach Brett Brown told reporters. “I feel like some of it was luck, some of it you’d love to have some of that execution back. I’ve got no problems with what we ran. I think how you run it, we can do a little bit better.” The Mavericks have their own struggles with execution and fell to 1-5 with a 96-91 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday. Dallas fell behind by 22 points and could not make up the deficit while shooting just 34 percent from the field on the second night of a back-to-back.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBCS Philadelphia, FS Southwest (Dallas)
ABOUT THE 76ERS (1-4): One of Philadelphia’s brightest young stars, No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, is out of the lineup while dealing with a shoulder injury, opening up some minutes for reserve guard T.J. McConnell, who played a larger role last season. McConnell made the most of his season-high 28 minutes on Wednesday by recording nine assists, six steals, six points and five rebounds in a performance Brown called “inspirational.” “I just want to provide energy for the team, and help us win,” McConnell told reporters. “If it was inspiring, that’s great, but I’m just out there to do whatever this team needs me to do.”
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (1-5): Wesley Matthews got off to a slow start this season, shooting 8-of-30 from the field in the first three games, but came on of late and was one of only three players to score in double figures on Thursday with 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Matthews is 18-of-34 from the floor in the last three contests, including 10-of-19 from 3-point range, and praised the team for its fight in the second half on Thursday. “We moved the ball and everyone was touching it,” Matthews told reporters. “There was energy in that, and we played a little harder. We got some stops and focused in on rebounding, but most of all we moved the ball.”
1. Mavericks G Yogi Ferrell went 0-of-6 from the floor on Thursday and is shooting 36 percent on the season.
2. 76ers SG JJ Redick scored a season-high 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting Wednesday.
3. Philadelphia snapped an eight-game losing streak in the series with a 116-74 home win over Dallas on March 17.
PREDICTION: 76ers 103, Mavericks 92