Preview: Sixers visit Nerlens Noel, Mavericks to start Texas road trip

By: Dante Nelson, Sports Talk Philly staff 

The Philadelphia 76ers are set to take on the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas tonight. Both teams only have one win for the season as the Mavericks are 1-5 and the Sixers are 1-4.

The Sixers' last game was a truly heartbreaking affair. Playing well and leading most of the way against the Houston Rockets, the Sixers ended up losing at the buzzer on a 3-pointer by Eric Gordon. The Sixers went the last three minutes without a field goal, which is probably not a good thing if you're trying to win.

The Mavericks lost to the Memphis Grizzlies after trailing by as much as 22 points. However, their only win of the season came against the Grizzlies in the first of back to back meetings for the teams. While the Grizzlies did win, they only won by five points, which indicates that the Grizzlies seem to have some problems with the Mavs.

Jahlil N-Okafor

Well, there have been fans wondering why Jahlil Okafor hasn't been playing in much of the Sixers' five games, even with an injured Richaun Holmes. 

Brett Brown has made it clear that Jahlil is not in the rotation and that the backup Center position for Joel Embiid is Amir Johnson's to lose. In case that doesn't quite make sense to you, this means that Johnson would have to play very poorly, instead of Okafor playing well, in order for things to potentially switch up for the rotation.

Struggling Noel looks forward to facing Joel Embiid

Nerlens Noel, a Sixers fan favorite during his time in Philly, is struggling with the Mavs so far. When he's on the court, he plays well. The problem is, he's become a foul machine and so he only plays, on average, 19 minutes a game. That's very low for someone who is potentially your franchise center. After a disastrous 2017 free agency, Nerlens needs to find a way to prove his worth to not just the Mavs, but the league.

Noel is looking forward to matching up against his best friend Joel Embiid. "I'm going to come at him," said Noel. According to Sixers play-by-play announcer Marc Zumoff Embiid is equally excited to face off with his former frontcourt partner:


Simmons looking to Improve

In his rookie season Ben Simmons is averaging 16.4 points, 10 rebounds, and 7.4 assists. The rookie-of-the-year favorite is not pleased with his rather impressive stat line early in the season however:

Simmons has attracted national attention for his historic levels of production, and it is highly encouraging to know that a young player this talented is focused on improving. 

Simmons specifically mentioned improving his shooting range, and it will be interesting to see if he tests his range tonight with that part of his game on his mind. 

The Starters


Matchup Preview  |  October 28, 2017
Philadelphia 76ers
(1-4, Away)
  Dallas Mavericks
(1-5, Home)
Ben Simmons Point Guard Dennis Smith Jr.
Jerryd Bayless Shooting Guard Wesley Matthews
Robert Covington Small Forward Harrison Barnes
Dario Saric Power Forward Dirk Nowitzki
Joel Embiid Center Nerlens Noel

Richaun Holmes

(Out, Wrist)


Seth Curry 

(Out, Left Tibia)

Markelle Fultz

(Out, Shoulder)


Josh McRoberts

(Out, Lower Extremity)

Jahlil Okafor

(Out, Illness)


J.J. Redick

(Out, Back Stiffness)


Game Info

Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

When: 8:30 PM ET

See It: NBC Sports Philadelphia (formerly CSN)

Hear It: 97.5 The Fanatic