The Start of Texas


Will the 76ers make it two in a row? If they do, they will have to beat a much better team than the eight-win Clippers they took down to the wire on New Year's Eve in Los Angeles.

Nope, tonight it's the Dallas Mavericks (19-12) with Jason Kidd, Terry, Dirk, Josh Howard ... you know the deal.

Since NYE, the Sixers have been saying that they need to win out in Texas to make this a successful road trip. I know we've been saying since before this road trip that it was most likely a one-win trip (the Clippers) and anything beyond that would be a surprise. Realistically, with the San Antonio Spurs on slate for tomorrow, tonight's game is, of the two Texas games, the most get-able. Although playing in front of a sold-out American Airlines Arena crowd against a good Western Conference team is hardly "get-able."

Unlike the first three games of this trip -- when the Nuggets were missing Carmelo Anthony, the Jazz Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap, the Clippers Kaman and Zach Randolph -- all the impact Mavericks are playing.

But let's not act as if victory is impossible. Not at all, victory is only nearly impossible. Here's the lowdown, in my opinion, of things that must be done to beat the Mavericks:

1.) Have fewer than 10 turnovers: They can't toss away possessions.

2.) Give up no run greater than 8-0: This killed them against the Jazz and, almost, against the Clippers at the start of the third quarter.

3.) Make at least five three-pointers: The standard 1 for 9 or 1 for 11 isn't going to lead to victory.

4.) Two reserves (my money is on Lou Williams and Marreese Speights) must score more than 12 points: Recently, they just haven't been getting enough production from starters Willie Green and Samuel Dalembert.

Before the game, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said the Sixers record (13-18) was "surprising" and the Sixers were "dangerous." Although he said pretty much the same thing about the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Time for tip ...