Philadelphia is trying to move above .500 in the standings after a rough spell without Holiday. The fourth-year point guard missed the team's last two games with a sprained right foot, and unsurprisingly, the team lost both times, including a 111-98 loss to a Los Angeles Lakers team that has struggled to beat anybody. Holiday is indisputably the key to Philadelphia's offense, averaging 18.4 points and 8.9 assists a game. Nick Young tried filling in with his first two starts of the year, and his 30 points on 6-of-12 three-point shooting kept the Sixers in the game against Los Angeles, but his eight-point, 14-shot effort effort is part of they lost to the Indiana Pacers. Holiday says his foot feels OK, so he is likely to return Tuesday night against Dallas.
Like Philadelphia, the Mavericks have lost three straight. Nobody will complain about a double-overtime loss to the Boston Celtics, but the Mavs followed that up with a 21-point loss to the lowly Toronto Raptors where they went 0-for-13 from three. Their next time out, the shots were falling, as they hit 50 percent from downtown against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but poor defense was the culprit as Dallas was outscored 32-13 in the second quarter. O.J. Mayo has been a sparkplug for a team without Dirk Nowitzki, as he's averaging 20.4 points and somehow still shooting over 50 percent from three on the year despite taking five shots from there a game. Derek Fisher has played decently in his return to the lineup, scoring 20 points against Minnesota, but the decision to bump the effective Darren Collison from the starting lineup for a 38-year-old Fisher might not be the wisest. If Holiday's healthy, he could abuse the step-slow Fisher off the dribble.
The first matchup between these two saw Philadelphia hold on for a 100-98 win thanks to 20-point outings from Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young.
Here's the information on Tuesday's game in Dallas:
Tuesday, Dec. 18
Philadelphia 76ers (12-12) vs. Dallas Mavericks (11-13)
8:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet-Philly