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Philadelphia 76ers

Kristaps Porzingis continues strong form in lead role as Dallas Mavericks down Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers

#Porzingis
(NBA Getty Images)

No Luka Doncic, no worries for the Dallas Mavericks.

Well, that might be an exaggeration, but it's fair to say the response without their MVP candidate has been nothing short of spectacular.

It's been three games since Doncic went down with an ankle sprain against Miami. In that stretch, the Mavericks have snapped the Milwaukee Bucks 18-game winning streak, lost a close one to the Boston Celtics and now blown out the Philadelphia 76ers at home.

Not bad at all.

Porzingis finding his groove

Without a doubt, the most pleasing aspect of the three-game stretch without Doncic has been Porzingis taking the lead role on both ends of the floor with confidence.

Porzingis is avergaing 23.6 points and 14.3 rebounds over the past three games, showing flashes of his athletic ability inside while also nailing 38 percent of his tries from the outside.

In this one, Porzingis was matched up with Joel Embiid, and while the Sixers big man registered 33 points and 17 rebounds, Porzingis had 22 points and 18 rebounds of his own while also swatting three shots.

With Doncic absent, the 7-foot-3 Latvian has been forced to aggressively look for his own offence and it's paying dividends.

While you would never want to lose a player of Doncic' calibre for any stretch, perhaps this is the silver lining from an at first scary incident for Dallas fans.

Streaky Hardaway finds the range

Tim Hardaway can just as easily catch fire as he can go completely missing.

Against Philadelphia, it was the former, as the sixth-year guard lit up the Sixers for 27 points on 7-for-11 from beyond the arc.

Five of those made triples came in a scintillating first period that set the game up for Dallas and allowed them to keep touch with the home team who shot out to a quick 16-9 lead. 19 points from Hardaway helped the Mavericks finish on 26-12 run, completely swinging the momentum of the game.

The outing was the seventh game of 20 plus points for Hardaway, while he has also registered ten games with single-digit scoring.

The Tim Hardaway Jr. experience is a roller coaster ride, but today, it was a fun one for Rick Carlisle and the Mavericks.

The Philadelphia offence continues to struggle

The Sixers are entering a critical period in their season.

Sitting in the fifth seed in the East, Philadelphia holds a 20-10 record and have now lost three in a row. Sure, some growing pains were expected in this curious bunch of talent they assembled in the offseason but even this has to make the front office a little anxious.

Heading into tonight, the Sixers possessed the league's 14th ranked offence and the sixth ranked defence. Certainly not numbers that suggest a title contender.

Outside of Embiid, the Sixers are struggling to find a consistent source of offence, and this is only amplified in the fourth quarter when opposition teams close down the paint.

Ben Simmons is an All-Star, but his numbers are down across the board from last season, Tobias Harris is shooting just 31 percent from three and Al Horford remains a reluctant shooter.

The lack of shooting and spacing continues to be a major problem and it will be the number one concern for Brett Brown moving forward.

Can the Sixers figure it out with this current group, or is a trade in their future?

Either way, the Philadelphia fans that booed their team on multiple occasions through the night will be hoping the answer is clear sooner rather than later.

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