Ready for Primetime: Sixers vs. Mavs in First Nationally Televised Game of Season

Ready for Primetime: Sixers vs. Mavs in First Nationally Televised Game of Season
February 17, 2012, 12:54 pm
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Well, this is the team's reward for starting the season 20-10, perhaps.
ESPN was not initially planning on broadcasting the Sixers' Friday night
matchup with the Dallas Mavericks in South Philly, but the Sixers' fine start
to the season has suddenly made them a lot more palatable to national
audiences, and now the eyes of the basketball world—those not previously
occupied with Jeremy Lin, anyway—will be on the Liberty Ballers
tonight.

Of course, whether the Sixers will prove themselves worthy of the added
attention tonight is something of a worry. The Sixers have not exactly
been in top form the last week or so, going 2-3 over their last five
games, and most recently getting all but blown out by the Magic in
Orlando. Most discouragingly, the young guys—who should dictate not only
the team's present, but their future—have been struggling. Jrue Holiday
and Evan Turner were a combined 3-15 in the game against the Magic, and
the latter particularly has seen both his point totals and minutes drop
precipitously in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Spencer Hawes, looking like
the Sixers' legit center of the future the first few weeks of the
season, should be out for a couple weeks or more, in a boot with his
gimpy Achilles.

On the other side, the Mavs have been rolling of late, winners of their
last five, including Ws over the Blazers, Clippers, and two over the
Nuggets. After a slow start to the season, Dallas has finally started to
look a little like the team that stole the 2011 finals from the
presumptive-favorite Heat, and while they still have a ways to go before
proving capable of repeating, they have climbed back up to fourth in
the West, and are always dangerous in the House That Cubes Built. The
Sixers will get a break in not having to deal with three of the Mavs'
top guards, however, as Jason Terry, Rodrigue Beaubois and Delonte West
are all riding the pine with injuries. (Dominique Jones will be
starting? Great.)

8:00 tip from the Wells Fargo Center. The love of an adoring nation awaits.

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