Sixth Man Battle Could Determine Sixers-Mavs Winner

Lou Williams is averaging 13.6 points per game even though he has not started a single game this season. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

It's just a hunch, but the team whose sixth man has the better game could prove to be the winner in Tuesday's matchup at the Wells Fargo Center between the 76ers and Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavs Jason Terry is an explosive scorer. This year he is averaging 16 points, although Terry has started 10 games.

"Terry makes clutch shots," Sixers coach Doug Collins said after Monday's practice. "Normally in the fourth quarter they run a lot of two-man game with Terry and Dirk (Nowitzki)."

Williams is averaging 13.6 points and has not started a single game. His play in the first quarter when he scored eight points and hit all three field goal attempts and both foul shots was the key in Sunday's 95-91 win at Cleveland.

"Those two threes he hit in the first quarter lifted our spirits," Collins said of Williams.

Dallas has won 16 of its last 17 games so this will be a major challenge for the Sixers, who have won four in a row, although none came over teams with winning records.

Still, the Sixers are playing well, having gone 13-4 in their past 17 games. While Williams at times has been inconsistent, he's still a difference-maker.

Ironically both Williams and Terry didn't play aleading role in the first meeting between the two teams, a 99-90 Mavericks win Nov. 12 at Dallas.

Williams scored just two points in under 10 minutes, shooting 1 for 3.

Terry scored 13 points on 5 for 15 shooting.

Look for both to come out aggressively on Tuesday. Williams admitted that he gets up for games against top sixth men such as Terry and Atlanta's Jamal Crawford.

Throw in the fact that he's going up against the NBA's hottest team, and Williams will have plenty of incentive to atone for his previous effort against the Mavericks.

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