Saturday night in Philadelphia should be a good night for basketball fans as the surprising Cleveland Cavaliers come in to take on the Sixers. Both teams are coming off of a Friday night win. The Sixers will have the advantage of playing at home, while the Cavs were in Indianapolis Friday night, beating up on the Pacers 120-113. The Sixers were at home, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-87.
This is the Sixers’ second game since acquiring James Harden and Paul Millsap, and it will be their second game without each player. The Sixers do have the leading MVP candidate in Joel Embiid who, despite a poor shooting night against the Thunder, still managed 25 points, 19 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots. Tyrese Maxey continued to show why the Sixers wouldn’t include him in any trades adding 24 points.
The Cavaliers are coming off a big win over the Pacers last night that saw newly acquired Caris LeVert and center Jarrett Allen each score 22 points. Levert will alleviate some stress the team may have with All-Star guard Darius Garland still out battling a back injury.
The Cavaliers are in 2nd place overall in the Eastern Conference and feature a tall and strong front-court, with Jarrett Allen averaging 16.3 points per game as well as 11.2 rebounds. Fellow center Evan Mobley is putting up 14.8 points and 8 rebounds per game as well. They are as formidable as any front-court duo in the league on defense, so it should be a little rougher for Joel Embiid when he’s down in the low post.
Levert is averaging 18.6 points per game and doesn’t look to be slowing down in the two games he’s played since being acquired by the Cavs. After those three, you still have to deal with Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo, CEdi Osman, and Collin Sexton. With the talented young lineup that the Cavs have, it’s easy to see why they’re 2nd in the conference.
The Sixers, currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, are slightly shorthanded after trading away starting shooting guard Seth Curry and backup center Andre Drummond. While the starting lineup against the Thunder did produce some points, with Tobias Harris adding 17 and Matisse Thybulle putting up 10 of his own, the bench is going to need to be much sharper against the Cavs. Danny Green is going to need to do better than the three points he had last night. The Sixers need better shooting and scoring out of Furkan Korkmaz and Shake Milton if they’re going to keep up with the Cavaliers.
This game is going to be tough for the Sixers as the Cavaliers boast a lineup with eight players, all scoring in double figures. The one good thing the Sixers have going for them is that they don’t turn the ball over a lot, while the Cavaliers are turning it over at a rate of 14.9 per game. With Thybulle playing his usual defense and Maxey using his speed on defense, the Sixers will stand a chance if they can force the Cavs into even more turnovers than they usually do.
This could be a preview of a potential playoff matchup. Still, the teams will look much different come the playoffs as the Cavaliers will have Garland and Lauri Markkanen back. At the same time, the Sixers will be much different when James Harden starts to suit up for them. It should be an exciting game throughout, but it looks like this one might not be in the cards for the Sixers.
Final Score Prediction
Cavaliers – 107 | Sixers – 102