The Sixers (24-43) return from their West Coast road trip to face the Dallas Mavericks (29-38) at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m./CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports app).
Let's take a closer look at the matchup:
1. A very familiar foe
Many faces have come and gone over the past few years for the Sixers as they shuffle to find the right mix of players for their massive rebuild. However, none of them were the initial piece of "the process."
That distinction goes to Nerlens Noel, who was traded to the Mavs at the deadline for Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson and a draft pick. The former sixth overall pick in 2013, Noel endured every ounce of the Sixers' painful overhaul.
Now he's in a completely different scenario: playing a key role for a team chasing a postseason bid. Noel is averaging 10.3 points on 59.2 percent shooting, 7.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in seven games for the Mavs, who are 3.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
While Noel is happy to have found a landing spot that can offer starter's minutes and a bright long-term future, the big man will always have a soft spot for Philadelphia.
"I think it's going to be definitely a moment for life," Noel said of returning to face the Sixers. "To be able to come back here just after being traded, the love I've constantly received here through the ups and downs, it's something unforgettable for me. To be able to play against the guys and all my guys on this team as well, it's going to be something special."
2. Seeing the silver lining
The Sixers almost pulled off a special feat their last time in action when they nearly knocked off the Golden State Warriors. The Sixers held a double-digit lead in the second half before ultimately watching it slip away in a 106-104 loss.
That was the final case of tough luck on their four-game road trip. The Sixers also suffered an OT loss to the Portland Trail Blazers and gave up a fourth-quarter lead in a defeat to the LA Clippers to finish the swing with a 1-3 mark.
Still, instead of dwelling on what could have been, the team is focused on learning from those setbacks.
"Sometimes it's hard for us because we're young, but I hope we'll get experience," Dario Saric said (see story). "We're in one system, we're growing up and I think we'll be fine. Maybe not this year, but I think next year we should be better with everybody."
3. Don't forget about Dirk
The Mavs have received contributions from across the roster to go from afterthought to the fringes of the playoff picture. However, a major reason behind their improved play is the resurgence of Dirk Nowitzki.
Nowhere near the player he was in his prime, Nowitzki has been able to regain some of his MVP form to get Dallas back on track.
Nowitzki is averaging 17.1 points on 50.5 percent shooting from the field to go along with 8.3 rebounds per game during March.
With Nowitzki coming off his third effort of at least 20 points in the last five games on Wednesday, the Sixers would be wise to pay close attention to the future Hall of Famer.
Tiago Splitter (calf), Joel Embiid (knee), Ben Simmons (foot) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.
Wesley Matthews (calf) is a game-time decision for the Mavericks.
5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost eight straight games to the Mavs.
• Mavs guard Seth Curry had game highs in points (22) and assists (six) in the season's first meeting between the two teams.
• The Sixers were outrebounded 55-45 in the first matchup as Salah Mejri had a career-high 17 off the bench.