After suffering their first home loss of the season Wednesday night to the Heat, the 20-9 Sixers host the 18-9 Mavericks on Friday night.
Star guard Luka Doncic is sidelined for Dallas with a right ankle sprain.
Here are the essentials:
When: 8 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
And here are three storylines to watch:
Reliant on rebounding
The Sixers, who have the top rebounding percentage in the NBA (53 percent), have been outrebounded in only six of 29 games this season.
They’ve lost five of those games, including the last two.
While the extreme nature of those numbers is due, in part, to random chance — there are games the Sixers have won with a one-rebound advantage and games they’ve lost with a one-rebound disadvantage — it does indicate how much they depend on their rebounding.
When they’ve held a rebounding edge, the Sixers have usually been able to overcome a high-turnover night or a poor performance from three-point range. When they haven’t, those issues have tended to be costly.
Beware of the Mavs’ bench
The magnificent Doncic isn’t the only reason the Mavs are 18-9. Dallas’ bench is outscoring opponents by five points per game, the best margin in the league.
Villanova product Jalen Brunson, who’s replaced Doncic in the starting lineup, is having a solid sophomore season, averaging 8.1 points, 3.4 assists and 1.1 turnovers per game. As a team, the Mavs are best in the NBA at taking care of the ball (12.6 turnovers per game) and have the No. 2 assist to turnover ratio (1.95)
Boban is back
The most beloved 7-foot-4 athlete in Philadelphia history is back in town.
“I really enjoy being one of the fans’ favorites,” Boban Marjanovic said in May at his exit interview. “When I hear [the fans], your blood gets warmer and you’re in the game and ready to go.”
Marjanovic might not play tonight — he’s only appeared in 11 of Dallas’ first 27 games after leaving the Sixers to sign a two-year, $7 million deal with the Mavs this summer — but the jovial giant should still be a fan favorite, at least as much as an opposing player can be in Philadelphia.
Even after moving to Dallas, Marjanovic has maintained his unique relationship with Tobias Harris, as ESPN’s Tim Bontemps detailed.
Marjanovic has his pregame playlist ready to go.
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.