Boban Marjanovic

Sixers vs. Mavericks: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Sixers vs. Mavericks: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

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.

More on the Sixers

Boban Marjanovic made an adorable playlist for his reunion tonight with Tobias Harris

Boban Marjanovic made an adorable playlist for his reunion tonight with Tobias Harris

The 2018-2019 Philadelphia 76ers season came up short in Toronto but it wasn't all for naught. It brought Bobi and Tobi in to our lives.

Sadly, the return of Boban Marjanovic wasn't in the cards for the 2019-2020 campaign in Philly and it's fair to say that the Philly fandom misses the big guy (for his off court antics and friendships, let's be real).

But nobody misses Boban as much as his best friend Tobias Harris.

The two inseperable pals will be reunted tonight at the Wells Fargo Center when the Dallas Mavericks come to town and Bobi is already up to his old stunts.

Boban shared a Spotify playlist he made on Friday morning titled "Sixers pre-game playlist" and it's all about friendship: "Best Friend" by 50 Cent, "You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor, "Thank You for Being a Friend" by Andrew Gold, and so forth.

Tobias responded as a good Philly ball player would, with a GIF of the Fresh Prince dancing.

If you wonder what Boban has been up to this season aside from FaceTiming his old pal Tobias, he's played just about 12 minutes per game in 11 contests for the Mavericks this season, good for 6.8 points and 5 boards per.

And he's still having fun on Twitter.

Even if he's not always making total sense:

2019-20 Sixers schedule: Plenty of reunions await Sixers this season

2019-20 Sixers schedule: Plenty of reunions await Sixers this season

The NBA schedule is out and it’s ripe with juicy matchups all around the league.

There will be plenty of intriguing games for the Sixers, including their matchups with rival Boston and both L.A. teams, but there are also a few games that will have some sentimentality.

Here are the Sixers’ “reunion” games for the 2019-20 season. (All times listed below are local start times.) 

Jimmy Butler — Sixers vs. Heat, Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m.

This may be the one return that’s not so ceremonious. There have been conflicting reports about whether the Sixers offered Butler a max deal. In any case, it appears Butler chose South Beach over South Philly. The crowd reaction alone will be fascinating. It’s unlikely either side will offer up much in the pre- and postgame availabilities, but you never know. It’ll also be Josh Richardson’s first chance to “kill” his former team.

T.J. McConnell — Sixers vs. Pacers, Nov. 30, 7 p.m.

This may actually get the fan base more excited than any return. McConnell was the ultimate underdog, joining the team as an undrafted free agent and earning an unlikely roster spot every season. The team and McConnell chose to go in different directions as the Sixers brought in veterans Raul Neto and Trey Burke to handle backup point guard duties.

JJ Redick — Sixers vs. Pelicans, Dec. 13, 7 p.m.

Redick had arguably the best two seasons of his NBA career with the Sixers. The two-man game with Joel Embiid and Redick was lethal. In a way, the Sixers signing Redick was similar to when the Phillies signed Jim Thome. Redick wasn’t the caliber player Thome was, but it symbolized Philadelphia being a destination again. It will also be our first peek at No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson.

Boban Marjanovic — Sixers vs. Mavericks, Dec. 20, 8 p.m.

The Tobi and Bobi Show gets another day in the sun. Marjanovic became a fan favorite pretty much immediately in Philadelphia when he arrived in a trade with his best friend, Tobias Harris. The massive Serbian got a standing ovation the first time he checked into a game at the Wells Fargo Center as a Sixer. I imagine the reception will be quite warm this time around as well.

Robert Covington — Sixers vs. Timberwolves, Oct. 30, 7 p.m.

Covington was traded last November, but missed both matchups against his former team last season. RoCo was one of the more underappreciated players the Sixers have had because his shooting ran so hot and cold. He should be warmly received this time around. The Butler trade didn’t work out exactly how the team would’ve liked, but it did ultimately net the Sixers Richardson.

Dario Saric — Sixers vs. Suns, March 27, 7 p.m.

Well, at least Saric got himself into warmer weather. He’ll also be reunited with former Sixers assistant Monty Williams, who took over as head coach in Phoenix. Those are really the only positives about Saric landing with the Suns. Always a fan favorite, Saric will be coming over to Philadelphia to a rousing ovation.

Markelle Fultz — Sixers vs. Magic, April 5, 1 p.m.

This one might be intriguing. Do we believe the hype around the latest Markelle Fultz shooting videos or do we think it’s the same story as last offseason? Fultz was the No. 1 overall pick for a reason, but obviously has yet to live up to anywhere near that lofty status. The crowd reaction could get ugly — especially if Fultz rediscovers his jumper and plays well.

Carsen Edwards — Sixers vs. Celtics, Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m.

Bruno Fernando — Sixers at Hawks, Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m.

Sure, there will be intrigue with Al Horford taking on his former teams, but let's face it: We all love to second guess every move ever. These games fall into the “what could’ve been” category. Edwards and Fernando were both acquired with picks originally held by the Sixers. General manager Elton Brand valued the roster spot/cap space more than drafting either player. It’s fair to note that Brand later re-signed Furkan Korkmaz to a deal. Would he have been better off selecting one of these two players? We’ll see.

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.

More on the Sixers