The second-half schedule for the NBA was released Wednesday afternoon. With it being released, the 21-11 Philadelphia 76ers will begin a four-game homestand Thursday night against the Dallas Mavericks.
Here’s what to look for Thursday night on national television:
Curry looks probable
Seth Curry was listed as probable on Wednesday night’s injury report with left ankle soreness. Curry was probable throughout the day Tuesday, but was then ruled out an hour before tip-off in Tampa Bay. Furkan Korkmaz started in his place and reminded everyone that he can score as he had 16 first-quarter points. The 23-year-old finished with 19 points on five-for-11 shooting, seven rebounds, and two assists playing 28 minutes in the Sixers’ win over the Raptors.
The Mavericks’ Kristaps Porzingis (lower back tightness) and Maxi Kleber (left ankle sprain) are both listed as questionable. Dallas beat the Boston Celtics on Tuesday without Kleber and Porzingis, mainly because of a 31 points from Luka Doncic, including two clutch step-back three-pointers within the game’s final 20 seconds. Villanova product Jalen Brunson had 22 points off the bench, as well.
A key to beat the Mavs’ at home
The Mavericks are one of only four teams to win in Philadelphia since the beginning of the 2019-20 season. They did so comfortably on Dec. 20, 2019, playing a zone defense that frustrated the Sixers and getting 19 points in the first quarter from Tim Hardaway Jr.
More zone certainly wouldn’t be surprising Thursday night as an attempt to neutralize Ben Simmons’ playmaking and Joel Embiid’s low-post dominance in one-on-one situations.
Though the Sixers had a poor night Tuesday from inside the arc and committed 18 turnovers, they did take 38 three-pointers, their second-highest figure of the season, and made 17.
Knocking down open threes could again be a key against Dallas, and head coach Doc Rivers likely wouldn’t mind an extended opportunity to fine-tune the Sixers’ zone offense.
A return for Josh Richardson
Josh Richardson will play his first game against the Sixers since the draft-night trade that sent him to Dallas and brought Curry to Philadelphia. He hasn’t worked with Doncic as well as the Mavericks would’ve hoped with Richardson’s three-point shooting and assist averages taking another dip.
However, Simmons, Embiid, and Tobias Harris know from experience that Richardson can be a annoying to play against, and that he’s capable of offensive spurts. They’ll be much more worried of Doncic, though, who’s only made eight of 31 total field goal attempts in two career matchups against the Sixers. With season averages of 28.9 points, 9.2 assists, and 8.6 rebounds, his MVP status would be much higher if Dallas wasn’t the ninth seed in the Western Conference at 15-15.