|3.5 DAL (-108) @ Betamerica|
My 10* Ultimate Underdog is on the Dal Mavericks at 7:40 ET.
MVP candidate Joel Embiid recently missed 10 games with a bone bruise on his left knee but the 76ers went 7-3 without him. Embiid (29.4 & 11.1) is back and the 76ers are tied with the Nets for the East's best record (36-17, three games up on the Bucks. Dallas ended a three-year playoff drought last season, led by another potential MVP contender, Luka Doncic. The Mavs were 43-32 (.573) last season but lost in the first round of the playoffs. Much was expected from Dallas this season but at 29-23 (.558), the Mavs are currently the West's No. 7 seed and have surely not overachieved. They are 5 1/2 games up on the West's No. 11 seed (getting into the "Play-In" round which includes the 7-10 seeds seems assured) but they desperately want to catch the 6th-seeded Blazers, who lead them by 1 1/2 games.
Joining Embiid in Philly's starting lineup are typically PF Harris (20.6 & 7.3), SF Green (9.8 & 3.7) plus guards Simmons (15.0-7.7-7.0) and Curry (12.3), guard Milton (13.7) has been a consistent scorer off the bench plus veteran center Howard has played all 53 games, averaging 6,8 & 8,3 in only 17 minutes. Guard Korkmaz (9.0) has been a nice surprise and just added 20 points and five steals in Philly's 117-93 win at Oklahoma City on Saturday (Embiid led with 27 points and nine rebounds).
Dallas has been streaky all season and hopes to avoid its third loss in four games when hosting the Sixers tonight. The Mavericks fell 119-117 to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, as DeMar DeRozan hit the winning jumper with 0.5 seconds remaining. Kristaps Porzingis (20.7 & 9.4) paced the Mavericks with 31 points and 15 rebounds while Doncic (28.5-8.1-8.7) added 29 points and seven assists. Doncic has 25 or more points in 11 of his last 13 games. Fellow guards Josh Richardson (12.5) had 16 points and Jalen Brunson (12.8-3.5-3.4) had 11 against the Spurs. Swingman Hardaway (16.2) has mostly come off the ne[-bench, with the Mavs' preferred starters at the forward position are Finney-Smith (8.9 & 5.5) and Kleber (7.6 & 5.5).
Here's the rub. The Mavs can play with any team and I view them as a VERY 'live' home dog in this one!