Jrue you want more?!!!??!
I know I do. After an historic performance for Jrue Holiday against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, the 8-6 Sixers take on the Dallas Mavericks (7-7) at the Wells Fargo Center Tuesday at 7pm. The 76ers are 5-4 this year at home, averaging over 100 points per game in their last four contests; the Sixers also boast the 7th most efficient defense in the NBA. Albeit the Sixers’ game-to-game scoring tends to vacillate between players more so than most teams in the NBA, recent performances from Jrue Holiday have seemingly demonstrated a shift in the offensive parity for Philadelphia. In his last outing Holiday scored 33 points, assisted on 13 baskets, shot over 50% from the field, and only turned the ball over twice in 39 minutes against the Suns, easily the best game of his career (for now).
The Mavericks this season have lingered around .500 (only 2-4 away) without Super-German Dirk Nowitzki, who likely won’t suit up until mid-December. Four of the five players that will likely start for Dallas are newcomers to the team. Darren Collison starts at point and has been extremely effective for the Mavs, and two-guard O.J. Mayo has been one of the best scoring guards in the NBA, both of which are serious young additions to Mark Cuban’s basketball portfolio. Veteran Chris Kaman is, and has been, solid, providing some scoring efficiency at Center that Dallas hasn’t seen in a years.
And in more interesting news (in a world where interesting might actually mean hilarious), Elton Brand will probably start at forward for the Mavericks tonight. This will be Brand's first game back in Philly since he was amnestied by Philadelphia. The "Old School Chevy" will likely have one of his better performances of the year, coming back to the show the team that paid to get rid of him that they made a poor decision. Center-forward Troy Murphy and Mayo are both day-to-day, but will likely both play against the Sixers. As for Philadelphia’s inactives, I need not mention Bynum; rather Spencer Hawes and Jason Richardson are both day-to-day but will both likely play. For Philadelphia, here are my Three Keys to winning tonight’s matchup:
Holiday vs. Collison. The UCLA teammates will be matched up for most of the game tonight. Collison has been very efficient this year for the Mavs, averaging 13 points per game to go with 6.3 assists. Jrue has been Philadelphia’s stud, and thus the “winner” of this faceoff could heavily affect the outcome of this game.
Limit Turnovers. The Dallas Mavericks may be the most well-coached team in the NBA. Philadelphia MUST limit their turnovers; the Mavs have an extremely efficient offensive system and are still quite talented even without Nowitzki. Holiday averaged 6 turnovers per game in the first half of the season so far, but has reduced that tally to 2.6 in the second half. This is an important game for that trend to continue.
Contain O.J. Mayo. Mayo has been a beast this year, leading the Mavericks in scoring with over 20 points a game, the first year someone other than Nowitzki has led the team in this mark at any point since the year he was drafted. Last game, against the Lakers, the Mavericks suffered their worst defeat of the season, losing by 26. Mayo had his worst statistical game of the year, and will look to bounce back against Philadelphia. If Mayo gets going early and scores efficiently, this could be a tough one for the Sixers, in a matchup that favors him much more than one against one of the league's best defenders at his position in Kobe Bryant.
Philadelphia has lost ten of their last twelve against the Mavericks. Last time against Dallas, Jrue had one of his poorest shooting outings since his rookie year, in one of those losses. This time around, no Dirk, hot Jrue, should be a tough, but winnable, one for the Sixers. See you at 7pm.
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