The Dallas Mavericks and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Thursday night battle is simply a star-studded affair. With the duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving taking on the Joel Embiid-James Harden partnership, fans would find it difficult to change the channel amid what should be an exciting contest. In fact, the battle between the Mavs and Sixers’ number one options is a clash between two heavyweights that the NBA hasn’t seen in almost 50 years.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Doncic-Embiid showdown is the first matchup since January 17, 1975 where two opposing players averaging at least 33 points per game over at least 30 games take on one another.
The Luka Doncic and Joel Embiid duel certainly delivered. Doncic tallied a game-high 42 points to lead the way for the Mavs in a 133-126 victory over the Sixers, while Embiid scored 35 in the losing effort. In the aftermath, Doncic is now averaging 33.4 points, while Embiid’s 33.0 points per game average moved by just a little following another strong performance.
On January 17, 1975, it was Golden State Warriors forward Rick Barry who took on Buffalo Braves big man Bob McAdoo in a game which the Braves won, 121- 116. Barry and McAdoo entered that contest averaging 33 and 33.4 points per game, respectively.
In eerily similar fashion to Luka Doncic and Joel Embiid’s showdown, Bob McAdoo had 45 points to lead the way for the Braves, while Rick Barry had 35 in the defeat.
The Mavs and Sixers’ contest was conducive to a high-scoring affair, and a high-scoring affair indeed it became. In addition to Doncic’s 42, Kyrie Irving, their blockbuster trade deadline acquisition, had 40 points, the duo basically taking turns in putting the Sixers’ defense to the sword.
Meanwhile, the Sixers had three 25+ point scorers; to help Embiid, James Harden had 27 points and 13 dimes, while Tyrese Maxey, the catalyst behind their late-game attempt to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, ended up with 29 points.
The Mavs and Sixers have one more matchup, and perhaps by then, both Luka Doncic and Joel Embiid are still averaging over 33 points. They will meet on March 29 at the Wells Fargo Center, which should undoubtedly be a crucial game for the Mavs as they try to avoid the play-in tournament.