Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#2559 Philadelphia 76ers vs.
#2660 Dallas Mavericks
Monday, April 12, 2021 at 8:35pm EDT
American Airlines Center, Dallas
Written by Roberto Arguello

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The Mavericks host the 76ers Monday night in the second and final meeting between these teams this season. The 76ers won the previous matchup on February 25th 111-97 in Philadelphia.

The 76ers are coming off of a blowout 117-93 win over the Thunder on Saturday in Oklahoma City. The Mavericks are looking to bounce back after a 119-117 loss on Sunday night as DeMar DeRozan hit a midrange jumpshot with 0.5 seconds remaining to give the Spurs the win.

Can Simmons Clamp Doncic?

If the 76ers win and cover as short road favorites, it will be because their three best players, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris play well. Embiid should have a big night offensively as the Mavericks won’t have anyone who can bother him with their defense. Simmons will draw the key defensive matchup against Luka Doncic while Harris has been an important scorer and playmaker in the halfcourt.

Embiid should be able to get his if the Mavericks don’t trap or double team him consistently, but if they do, the 76ers will rely on Harris to get into the lane and either generate scoring opportunities for himself, lobs to rim-running bigs, or open threes for shooters. Ben Simmons will also play a key role as another playmaker and off-ball slasher on offense. Shooters like Seth Curry, Danny Green, and Furkan Korkmaz will need to take advantage of open looks after penetration from Harris, Simmons, and Shake Milton.

Harris has the ability to generate his own shot from all three levels as he is shooting above-average percentages at the rim (67%), in the midrange (50%), and from beyond the arc (41%) among forwards. His 122.6 points per 100 shot attempts rank in the 87th percentile among forwards, and his career-high 17.5% assist percentage also ranks in the 87th percentile. Harris has been efficient all season, and he has shown over the last month that he has the game to lead the 76ers with either or both of Embiid and Simmons out.

Since Joel Embiid’s knee injury in mid-March, the 76ers lead the NBA with a 103.5 defensive rating (per Cleaning The Glass). The 76ers will need Simmons to step up and pressure Luka Doncic on defense to disrupt Doncic’s vision as a passer and make scoring more difficult.

Mavs' Defense Needs to Step Up

If the Mavericks win and cover, they will need Doncic to continue playing great basketball while their defense continues to improve. Maxi Kleber (leg) Is questionable while JJ Redick (heel) has a chance to make his Mavericks debut after being traded from the Pelicans at the trade deadline.

The Mavericks have gotten elite play from Luka Doncic, and he has gotten better as the season has progressed as his three-point shooting has improved each month. Doncic shot 9.5% on threes in December, 33.0% in January, 43.5% in February, and 40.1% since March first. Doncic’s 119.6 points per 100 shots rank in the 73rd percentile among wings while his 42.4% assist rate ranks in the 100th percentile.

Kristaps Porzingis has started to heat up lately with at least 26 points and 15 rebounds in consecutive games. Porzingis will continue to be a matchup problem for defenses when the Mavericks face the 76ers, and he may need to be the team’s leading scorer if Doncic struggles against Simmons. Porzingis missed the Mavericks’ loss to the 76ers earlier this season due to injury. Kleber’s presence and shooting would be a big boost for the Mavericks, but if he remains out, players like Tim Hardaway Jr. and underrated scorer Jalen Brunson will need to step up.

While the Mavericks rank 19th with a 113.3 defensive rating this season (excluding garbage time, per Cleaning The Glass), they have been better lately as they rank seventh with a defensive rating of 110.0 since the beginning of March. Since then, the Mavericks have the sixth-best point differential (+6.6), and they rank second in the NBA with a +4.2 spread differential. The Mavericks took a step back defensively in their loss against the Spurs on Sunday night, and they will need a much more focused effort on Monday to beat the 76ers.

Best Bets for this Game

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While the Mavericks have won six of their last ten, the value is on the 76ers as they have one of the few defenders in the NBA in Simmons who can match Doncic’s length and athleticism. In the first matchup against the Mavericks, Simmons held Doncic to just four assists and seven turnovers (Doncic’s second-highest turnover total since the start of February), and he should have enough success against him again for the 76ers to get the win and cover with both Embiid and Harris back in the lineup.

Prediction: 76ers -2.5

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Because of Simmons’ defense on Doncic, the Mavericks will have more trouble than normal scoring in the halfcourt. The Mavericks will rely more on Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. than normal to score, and if their jumpshots go cold, it could be a long night for Mavericks’ fans. Embiid is still wearing a knee brace that he has said affects his range of motion when taking jumpshots. Take the under as the Mavericks should also have a more focused defensive effort after a disappointing loss to the Spurs on Sunday night.

Prediction: Under 224.5
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Written By Roberto Arguello , "Roberto Arguello"

Roberto is a college basketball and NBA sports betting analyst. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners he broadcasted for PGA TOUR LIVE and was the voice of Stanford Football on KZSU 90.1 FM. His sports betting articles have been featured on Sporting News, The Action Network, and BetQL. Roberto enjoys long romantic walks through the fairways and fullback handoffs.