To not much of anyone’s surprise, the Philadelphia 76ers have been pretty god awful in 2014. But the Sixers haven’t just been bad. They have still yet to win their first game as a team in the regular season. Philly has played just seven so far, but a quick road trip through Texas has it looking like the winless streak will probably will hit 10. But can Philly cover the rather large spreads in any of their games along the Texas triangle? They start in Dallas, where the home Mavericks are 12-point favorites against the worst team in the NBA.
There was just a single bright spot for the Sixers last season – a bright spot that has yet to be around in 2014/2015. Michael Carter-Williams, the promising rookie out of Syracuse, won the 2013/2014 Rookie of the Year in the NBA after leading Philadelphia without much help at all last season. But Carter-Williams hurt himself in the offseason and he has been recovering from shoulder surgery that has held him out of any games this season. But Thursday looks to be his return to action in his sophomore campaign. Carter-Williams is probable tomorrow, which means Philly gets its best player back. But the Sixers will sure to be cautious easing their star back into game action. And even with Carter-Williams back, it doesn’t mean he’ll be at all effective in his first game action since last spring. His return should certainly ignite his teammates, but it’s still very much a question as to how productive he will be when he’s on the floor.
Meanwhile, the Mavs look to punish a team that has no business playing with them, especially in Texas. Philadelphia has lost all of its road games by at least 12 points. Most recently, they lost up in Canada to the Raptors by 32 and I fear that Thursday could be a similar type of slaughtering. While Philadelphia trots out what has potential to be an all-time horrible NBA rotation, the Mavs are a well-oiled machine that figures to compete for a championship this season. It’s always a question of how much of an effort a bonafide contender, like Dallas, puts forward against Philly. But this game has a great chance of ending in a 20+ point margin with all the firepower that Dallas possesses – whether it comes off the bench or in the starting lineup. Dallas blows out Philly.
Free Pick: Dallas -12
2014 NBA: 1-2 -1.2