Sixers show an emphasized need for bench scoring in loss to Cavs

Tobias Harris
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 01: Philadelphia 76ers Forward Tobias Harris (12) looks on during a NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Clippers on March 1, 2020 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

The Sixers suffered a disappointing loss to the Cavaliers by a score of 112-109. Despite a 42-point performance from Joel Embiid, the Sixers were unable to secure a victory and suffered an overtime loss.

First Half

The Sixers started off sluggish once again tonight as shown by their 6 first-quarter turnovers. Showcasing his matching black headband, Ben Simmons was dominant from the opening tip-off and went into the half with 12 points 3 rebounds, and 3 assists.

The Cavs came out of the gates looking to run-and-gun and outscored the Sixers 17-8 in fast-break points in the first half. The Sixers scored just 47 points in the first-half which is a season-low for the team.

To start the second quarter, the Sixers came out in a zone led by Matisse Thybulle and Ben Simmons. While this has been greatly successful this year, the Cavs were able to break right through it and the Cavs lead continued to build.

Joel Embiid was successful in forcing the Cav’s big men into foul trouble and both Jarrett Allen and JaVale McGee entered halftime with 3 fouls. Embiid led the game in scoring with 21 points and 9 rebounds at the half.

Second Half

It took five minutes into the 3rd quarter for Danny Green to become the first Sixers player, outside of Simmons and Embiid, to score more than 5 points.

The Sixers quickly climbed back into the game and a back-and-forth effort throughout the second half followed. Joel Embiid continued to leave it all on the court but the challenge proved too tough as the Cavs continued their relentless effort and energy on the defensive end.

Seth Curry had a particularly rough night as he scored just 4 points in his 39 minutes of play. Curry shot 1-13 from the field and 1-7 from beyond the arc.

The young nucleus of the Cavs proved to be a problem as Collin Sexton ended with 28, Darius Garland added 25, and Issac Okoro scored 15 points.

The Sixers failed to truly find their full rhythm and as Doc Rivers put it, “We were running our offense like it was a walkthrough.” A last-second mid-range jumper from Joel Embiid clanked on the rim at the end of regulation forcing the Sixer to take the youthful Cavs to overtime.

In overtime, the Cavs continued to show more energy than the Sixers and secured a victory by a score of 112-109. The Cavs shot 13 more times than the Sixers, who also left a great number of points on the board by only shooting 65.7% from the free-throw line in this matchup.

Sixers Biggest Takeaways

This game showed just how valuable Tobias Harris is to the Sixers. The 28-year old missed this matchup with the Cavaliers with a knee contusion that occurred in Thursday’s matchup with the Mavericks.

The 20.2 points per game he is averaging were greatly needed as the Sixers struggled to find scoring outside of Simmons and Embiid.

Harris was not the only missing piece as the supporting cast was a problem throughout the game. Excluding Joel Embiid, the Sixers shot 8-25 from three. Shake Milton was the only other Sixer to hit double-figures and ended the game with 11 points.

Even a late three-pointer from Ben Simmons was not enough for the Sixers to find their way to a win.

This game was another clear example of why the supporting cast needs to be upgraded and should be greatly noted as the trade deadline approaches.

Despite their 13-21 record, the Cavaliers are a much better team than they get credit for and this is not as bad of a loss as it may seem. Regardless, the lack of production outside of Ben and Joel is extremely troublesome and it is clear the Sixers have upgrades to make.

The Sixers will look to shake this one off as they will be back at it on Monday for a match-up against the Indiana Pacers. It is still up in the air if Tobias Harris will be back but getting him back in the lineup would go a long way to ending the first half of the season on a positive note.

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire