PREVIEW: All-Star snub Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers, battle Dallas Mavericks

Feb 21, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (12) drives to the basket against the Toronto Raptors during the first quarter at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tobias Harris certainly deserved to earn a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team.

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will represent the Philadelphia 76ers next month in Atlanta while Harris will be watching from afar.

“He’s as mature as anybody in our locker room, including the coaches,” 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said of Harris. “He’s just a mature kid. He clearly wanted to make it, and I clearly wanted him to make it.”

Harris will have another chance to prove his mettle when the Sixers host the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.

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Harris was terrific in Wednesday’s 109-102 road win against the Toronto Raptors in Tampa, Fla., as he posted 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Last season, Harris struggled at times under former head coach Brett Brown. But Harris has thrived under Rivers, his former coach.

“You know, maybe we keep winning and go win the whole thing,” Rivers said. “Then next year, he will be on it. Sometimes you play and make it the year before you make it. Hopefully, that’s the case for him.”

Simmons, who was named an All Star on Tuesday, had 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Embiid, who will start in the All-Star Game, scuffled a bit with 18 points and 12 rebounds on 3-of-13 shooting.

But the Sixers won thanks in large part to Harris.

And playing the right way.

“I thought, down the stretch, we got a little loose with the ball,” Rivers said. “But overall, I thought we were fine. You know, it’s a great example. We missed again some great shots. But I thought we had a chance to have a high-scoring night with them taking the ball out of Joel’s hands.”

The Mavericks will be searching for their seventh win in the last eight games. The only setback during this stretch was a three-point loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Feb. 14.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Mavericks, check out #MFFL rumors, rankings, and news here.

As usual, Luka Doncic has been leading the way.

Doncic had 31 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists — including two late 3-pointers — to lift the Mavericks past the Boston Celtics 110-107 on Tuesday. Jalen Brunson added 22 points off the bench. The game-winning shot by Doncic dropped through with 0.1 seconds left.

“He’s just a very unique player, a very unique person,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said of Doncic. “The wiring of people like Luka Doncic, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, guys that have this laser-like focus in these situations. It’s difficult to explain how their minds and their brains work.”

The Mavericks needed every one of Doncic’s 31 points as the Mavericks played without Kristaps Porzingis for the second consecutive game with tightness in his lower back. Porzingis’ status is unknown for the game against the Sixers.

Dallas has won three in a row against the Sixers. A fourth straight win will put the Mavericks above .500 at 16-15.

For such a young player, Doncic hasn’t shied away from taking the big shot. He missed a late trey against the Trail Blazers and appeared visibly upset.

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But when the opportunity came again, he delivered against the Celtics.

“Sometimes you’re going to miss it, like the last game against Portland,” Doncic said. “And sometimes you’re going to make it.”

–Field Level Media