(Sports Network) - 76ers head coach Doug Collins compared Mavericks All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki to Hall of Famer Larry Bird during practice this week and will get to see the former tonight when red-hot Dallas makes a stop in south Philly.
The Mavericks are closing out a three-game road trip at Wells Fargo Center and have won six in a row, including Sunday's 114-96 victory over the Toronto Raptors up north. Nowitzki had a Bird-like performance with 31 points and 13 rebounds Shawn Marion came off the bench for 20 points for Dallas, which is 16-1 in its last 17 contests and seeded second in the Western Conference.
"That was ugly early," Nowitzki said after Dallas' fourth straight road win. "We couldn't get some stops. I thought our bench saved us. They were really ready."
Jason Terry provided 19 points and Jose Barea netted 12 in a winning effort, as the Mavericks improved to 21-8 away from Big D. The Mavs have scored 100 or more points in 15 of 16 games, going 32-2 when reaching the century mark. They are 10-0 when Nowitzki posts a double-double this season.
Mavs veteran guard Jason Kidd needs only five steals to pass Gary Payton (2,445) and move into third place on the all-time list behind Michael Jordan and John Stockton.
Philadelphia has been on a roll lately too, and will try to extend its season high winning streak to five games Tuesday night. It is a season-best one-game over .500 at 30-29 and will begin a three-game homestand this evening versus the Mavericks, Timberwolves and Warriors. The Sixers are 19-9 as the host.
In a 95-91 win at Cleveland on Sunday, Elton Brand and Lou Williams finished with 16 points apiece and Jodie Meeks scored all 14 of his points in the second half. Jrue Holiday added 13 points and nine assists, while rookie Evan Turner added 10 points in a reserve role for Philadelphia, which has gone 27-16 after starting the season 3-13 and is above .500 for the first time since being 3-2 in 2009-10.
"Our bench gave us a huge lift," Brand said. "[Young] and Williams gave us a huge spark to overcome a 12-point deficit, they played with heart."
Thaddeus Young notched 12 points in the win to keep the 76ers one game behind New York for the sixth spot in the East. The Sixers started the season 1-4 at home, but have gone 18-5 since. They are unbeaten in three straight as the host.
Dallas recorded a 99-90 win over Philadelphia on Nov. 12 this season in Big D and has won four of five and 13 of the last 19 meetings between the clubs.
These two teams have split the last 12 encounters in south Philly.