The Dallas Mavericks have one last tune-up opportunity before the games start to count toward improving their uber-important NBA playoff seeding.
In the final scrimmage for both teams, the Mavs looks to build positive momentum vs. the Philadelphia 76ers at 7:30 p.m. CT Monday in Orlando’s NBA bubble.
So far, the Mavs are 1-1 in scrimmages after an exciting win against the Los Angeles Lakers and a loss vs. the Indiana Pacers. After the four-month hiatus, Dallas’ offense is still imposing and its defense is still a question mark.
THE MATCHUP: 76ers star Ben Simmons, who recently moved to the power forward position, has been tough to stop in Orlando. Add in Al Horford, who made 4-of-5 three-pointers on Sunday against the OKC Thunder, and Philadelphia looks like a dangerous team to exceed expectations in the bubble.
BURKE IS BACK: The Mavs expect guard Trey Burke, who signed as a replacement player after Willie Cauley-Stein opted out, to play vs. the 76ers. After his late arrival, Burke has passed quarantine and is ready for game action. He played 25 games for the Mavs last season, averaging 9.7 points and 2.6 assists in 17.4 minutes.
OFFENSIVE CHEMISTRY: Mavs stars Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis have never played in an NBA playoff game. But they've been highly effective together, as since Jan. 1, they have produced an offensive rating of 116.7 while sharing the floor.
Also worth a "chemistry watch'': Best pals "Bobi and Tobi'' facing off ...
QUOTABLE: Coach Rick Carlisle on Porzingis and Doncic:
Silver Lining: Positive Porzingis Play
While Luka Doncic nurses his ankle and knee sprains, a silver lining, if you will, thanks to the recent play of Kristaps Porzingis.
Why Don’t the Mavs Play Moses Brown?
During the three-game losing streak, 22-year-old center Moses Brown received no playing time. Why not?
“They’ve gained a lot of chemistry together since, really, mid-January on. The chemistry in our practices have been very good.There were some really good things in the Laker game. KP not playing against Indiana, that was a setback for us. The synergy with those two guys is something that really is key to our team, which goes without saying.”
NUMBER TO KNOW: In his first two scrimmages, Doncic hasn’t missed a beat … totaling 34 points, 16 rebounds and 15 assists in only 41 minutes.
The Mavericks are on pace to have the best offensive efficiency rating in NBA history. But Carlisle is harping on defensive improvement - hoping to catch up on that end of the floor.
"We’re a good defensive team,'' Carlisle said. "I don’t think we’re bad. We’re ranked about average – and we got to be above average and work to get into top 10 to be one of those teams that’s really in the hunt.”
FORMAT: Each of the 22 teams involved in the NBA restart will play three scrimmage games. The third scrimmage game will use standard 12-minute quarters.
Score and statistics will be kept and provide the NBA’s stat crews that were hired to work for three months at Disney a trial run before regular season resumes.
Game Time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Location: Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando
TV/Radio: Fox Sports Southwest, Mavs.com, ESPN 103.3 FM
Records: Mavericks (40-27, 7th in the West), 76ers (39-26, tied for 5th in the East)