The 76ers are 2-4 heading into tonight's game in Dallas against the Mavericks, and a common trait in all four losses has been the dominant play by the opposing point guards.

Toronto has twice beaten the Sixers, and both times Raptors point guards T.J. Ford and Jose Calderon have excelled.

Ford averaged 15 points (shooting 12 for 24 from the field) in nearly 32 minutes. He also averaged 8.5 assists and 2.0 turnovers against the Sixers.

Calderon averaged 11 points (shooting 9 for 12 from the field), 5.5 assists, and 1.0 turnovers in more than 16 minutes a game.

During a 93-88 loss to the New Jersey Nets, point guard Jason Kidd had a triple-double - 16 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists - in just under 37 minutes.

On Sunday, New Orleans point guard Chris Paul had 16 points and nine assists in 30 minutes and 29 seconds.

This isn't all on Sixers starting point guard Andre Miller. But after having a banner preseason, he has been inconsistent.

Miller is averaging 13.8 points in just under 35 minutes a game, but his assist-to-turnover ratio is well below par. He has 28 assists (4.7 average) to 18 turnovers (3.0).

"I'm not worried about assist-to-turnover ratio," Miller said after yesterday's practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. "That's the last thing I am worried about right now."

Miller said the best thing is to get Sunday's 93-72 loss to New Orleans out of his system and move on.

Still, it will be tough to move in the right direction if the point guards don't play better.

The Sixers have also used Willie Green and Lou Williams, among others, to defend opposing point guards, and none has had great success.

On offense, Miller has been guilty of forcing passes, but he seems unconcerned.

"I think, for the most part, my turnovers are good turnovers, unless I am really trying to thread it in there and there is a lot of traffic," he said.

Coach Maurice Cheeks acknowledged that Miller's passes in tight areas have not always worked.

"If you think about the way we played last year, for whatever reason, he made a lot of passes in those areas," Cheeks said. "This year, I think they are getting tipped, and teams are getting their hands on the ball, resulting in some turnovers."

Cheeks also said the rest of the team has to do better with turnovers, too. The Sixers are averaging 17 per game; their opponents are averaging 18.

"When we are not defending and scoring, we have to take care of the basketball in order to limit the opportunities of the other team," Cheeks said.

Much of that involves containing the point guards.

In the Sixers' two wins, Chicago's Kirk Hinrich was saddled with foul trouble and had a poor game, notching just eight points (3-for-12 shooting), eight assists and two turnovers.

The Sixers' other win, over Charlotte, came without Bobcats starting point guard Raymond Felton, who was sidelined with a knee injury. In that game, starter Jeff McInnis had two points, two assists and five turnovers.

The job of defending the point won't get easier with Dallas' Devin Harris tonight and then a return matchup with Paul and New Orleans tomorrow.

Notes. Dallas (4-2) lost its opener at Atlanta and is coming off a 91-82 defeat at Portland on Saturday as reigning MVP Dirk Nowitzki was held to just 11 points. . . . Harris did not play against Portland because of family matters, but a Mavericks official said he would be in the lineup tonight. . . . Former Temple star Eddie Jones and center Erick Dampier are listed as day-to-day by the Mavericks. Jones has missed the previous two games with a sore right leg, and Dampier hasn't played all season while recovering from right-shoulder surgery.