The Philadelphia 76ers continue their magnificent run, gunning for their 14th consecutive victory on Sunday in a nationally televised contest versus the Dallas Mavericks at 1 p.m. ET. While the Mavericks play out the string at 24-56, the Sixers are trying to lock down the No. 3 seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs.Philadelphia opened as an 11.5-point favorite and now is laying 12.5. The over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, opened at 212 and has risen to 215.5.
Before picking either side, you need to read what SportsLine NBA expert Galin Dragiev has to say. Dragiev has put together a blistering 13-5 run (72 percent) on his recent against-the-spread NBA picks. We can tell you he’s expecting a low-scoring game and is leaning toward the under.
Dragiev, who has a strong analytical background, has examined every matchup, every player and every trend for Mavericks-76ers and locked in his pick. For Friday’s crucial Cavaliers-Sixers contest, in which Philly was laying 3.5, Dragiev pointed out the Cavs were equally as formidable as the 76ers, especially with an injured Joel Embiid out of the lineup, and backed Cleveland. The result? In a thriller, the Cavaliers’ last-second tip-in for the tie rimmed out, which gave the Sixers a 132-130 win and allowed Dragiev to cash!
The Mavericks have a lot of young talent and they can cover if they play loose but disciplined. No Dirk Nowitzki, no Wesley Matthews, and guard Dennis Smith Jr. is questionable. Expect to see a lot more of Yogi Ferrell on the hardwood. If he can dictate the pace and slow down the high-flying Sixers, Dallas can limit possessions, which makes the game much more manageable.
But the Sixers will cover if they play with more discipline than they showed against Cleveland. Philly, which leads the league in turnovers, can get sloppy with the ball. It can’t take Dallas for granted, especially with so much at stake in the postseason.The under is 5-0 in Philadelphia’s last five games after scoring more than 125 in its previous contest. Dallas is 0-4 against the spread in its last four road games.Do the Sixers make it 14 in a row, and 10 covers in their last 11? Or will the Mavericks come out razor-sharp to earn the cover? Dragiev has found an X-factor for this matchup and locked in his strong pick.
It’s an inter-conference battle between a team looking to next year and one ready to make noise in the postseason in the City of Brotherly Love. The Dallas Mavericks are on the road as they travel to face the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday afternoon. Dallas dropped their second straight with a 113-106 overtime loss on the road to the Pistons Friday night. Philadelphia hung on after nearly blowing a huge lead to earn a 132-130 home win over Cleveland Friday night. The Mavericks lead the all-time regular season series 37-35 but the 76ers have won two straight, including a 112-110 road win in the first matchup this season on October 28, 2017.
Dallas battled but came up short as they fell in overtime on the road to the Pistons Friday night. The Mavericks lost for the fifth time in six games and entered Saturday with the fourth-worst record in the league. Dallas rallied from three down after three quarters to force overtime and was tied midway through the extra session before getting outscored 7-1 the rest of the way. The Mavericks shot 43.5 percent from the field and hit 13 of 39 three point attempts in the contest. Johnathan Motley led Dallas with 26 points and 13 rebounds in a losing effort.
The Mavericks have struggled on the offensive end of the floor this season. Dallas is 28th in the league in scoring with 102.4 points per game. The Mavericks are 27th in rebounding with 41.3 boards per contest and are 17th in the league with 22.7 assists per game. Dallas is slightly above average on the defensive end, ranking 12th in scoring defense by allowing 105.1 points per game. Harrison Barnes leads the Mavericks with 18.8 points plus 6.1 rebounds per game. Dennis Smith Jr. (15.1 points, 5.1 assists) is the point guard of the future: he missed two games with a knee effusion. He missed six games with a strained hip as well this season.
Yogi Ferrell (10.4 points) and J.J. Barea (11.6 points, 6.3 assists) are contributing in the backcourt. Doug McDermott, Salah Mejri, Nerlens Noel, Wesley Matthews (12.7 points), Kyle Collinsworth, Dwight Powell and the ageless Dirk Nowitzki are all cogs in the Mavericks’ rotation. Matthews was announced to have fractured fibula on March 12 and is done for the year. Noel missed three months after breaking his thumb and then having surgery to repair a torn ligament in it before returning February 28. Dallas is 26th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 44.5 percent as a team. The Mavericks are 4th in threes with 11.9 per game but are tied for 13th in three point shooting by hitting 36.3 percent from beyond the arc.