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News » 76ers-Mavericks Preview 2009-11-30

76ers-Mavericks Preview 2009-11-30

76ers-Mavericks Preview 2009-11-30Even with the expected return of Elton Brand on Monday night, the Philadelphia 76ers could have a difficult time ending their woes during their current four-game road trip.

Facing the Dallas Mavericks doesn't help either.

With Brand slated to end a three-game absence due to injury, the 76ers will try to avoid a seventh straight loss when they take on the Southwest Division leaders.

After winning three of its first five games, Philadelphia (5-12) has fallen into a massive rut by dropping 10 of 12 since Nov. 8, and injuries haven't helped.

Starting guard Louis Williams is out two months after surgery for a fractured jaw and reserve forward Marreese Speights won't likely return until after the new year because of a torn left MCL.

Brand had also missed three straight games with a sore right hamstring, and those absences led to speculation Philadelphia could sign former All-Star guard Allen Iverson, but coach Eddie Jordan said that was all simply rumor at this point.

"We want to see how our depth will work out for us," Jordan said. "We want to bring Elton (Brand) back, and that helps us. We'll go from there."

Even Brand and Iverson might not help the 76ers against the Mavericks (12-5), who are trying to match their best start since 2006-07. Dallas finished that season with a franchise-record 67 victories with Dirk Nowitzki earning the league's MVP honors.

Nowitzki has averaged a career-best 27.1 points in this season's first month and topped 30 points five times. He just missed making it six on Saturday night in Cleveland, but the Mavericks allowed the Cavaliers to shoot 57.7 percent in a 111-95 loss.

"We scored almost 100, which is enough sometimes to win on the road, but we couldn't get any stops," said Nowitzki, who scored 27 on 10 of 19 from the field. "We gave up too many layups. Once you get all layups, everybody starts feeling good about themselves."

Dallas will try to bounce back by earning its fifth straight home win over Philadelphia. The Mavericks have also won six of seven overall meetings since Feb. 27, 2006, but they needed Nowitzki's buzzer-beating jumper for a 95-93 win at Philadelphia on Jan. 19.

The 76ers are 2-7 away from home this season as they enter the second game of their trip. They are also trying to avoid a sixth consecutive road defeat, their longest skid since dropping 10 in a row Oct. 17-Dec. 16, 2006.

Philadelphia hasn't lost seven straight overall since Jan. 2-14, 2008.

"We kind of need to right the ship now, we feel, just for the fans and our own psyche," Brand said.

Because of last season's right shoulder surgery, Brand hasn't faced Dallas since April 9, 2007, when he scored 20 points for the eighth time in 23 career matchups.

Despite his heroics in the teams' previous meeting, Nowitzki has struggled from the floor in recent games against the 76ers. The All-Star forward has shot 33.8 percent in the last three matchups but has averaged 23.3 points by making 24 of 27 free-throw attempts.

Jason Terry, the league's reigning sixth man of the year, topped 20 points in each game during last season's sweep of Philadelphia.

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Added: November 30, 2009


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