Dalembert and Bradley are still out for the Philadelphia 76ers, which holds a record of 1-3. Steven Hunter has been able to do a good job so far scoring 13 and 16 points in last two games with great shooting percentage, so problem could have been even bigger. But the lack of a strong frontcourt really makes it hard for the 76ers to control the boards. In rebounding they have lost all 4 games with a massive difference (39-52 vs Milwaukee, 32-42 vs Detroit, 38-48 vs Charlotte and 29-40 vs Indiana). As the Mavs is the team you don’t want to have many second scoring opportunities, this deficit in rebounding could really do some damage tonight. Iverson and Webber have played close to perfect so far and still Philadelphia has won only one game. As it is hard to see those two superstars playing much better or/and addition from somewhere else expect the 76ers to struggle at least until they see their centers healthy again.
Dallas has had solid start with a record 2-1 in first 3 games. Solid especially if you consider that they have won games against the Suns and the Spurs. Their only loss came against the Jazz in a game following the night they had 2 OT game against the Suns. So obviously the Mavs didn’t have enough energy left to stand against the Jazz defence that night.
Then again in their last game they gave a first loss to defending champions – San Antonio Spurs. Dirk Nowitzki showed some signs of getting closer to his top form, cause no one in the Spurs couldn’t stop him. Bruce Bowen started against him, then Tim Duncan took over, former teammate Finley had a few posessions, as did 7-footer Rasho Nesterovic and point guard Beno Udrih, yet none could slow him very much. Dirk finished with 34 points and was well supported by Josh Howard (17 points) and Devin Harris (22 points).
Both teams are well rested going in to this game, but the 76ers are slowed down by injuries. Both Webber and Iverson could and they probably will have a solid perfomance against the Mavs, but that just isnt enough. Dampier, Howard and Nowitzki will control the boards at both ends and kill the 76ers at low post. Expect Dallas to cover –4.5 points spread. Medium stakes.
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