Sixers vs. Cavaliers: How to watch, betting preview & predictions

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Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid drives to the basket past Brooklyn Nets center Day’Ron Sharpe during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

The Cleveland Cavaliers will be bringing a three-game winning streak into the City of Brotherly Love as they take on the Philadelphia 76ers tonight. It will be the final game of the In-Season Tournament Group A play for the Sixers, who need a win and an Atlanta Hawks loss to hope to advance to the next stage.

How to Watch

Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (7-6) at Philadelphia 76ers (10-3)

When: 7:30 PM EST

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.

Watch: TNT, NBC Sports Philadelphia

Sixers vs Cavs betting info

Spread: Sixers -8 | Cavs +8
Moneyline: Sixers -325 | Cavs + 260
Total: O/U 219

What to look for from the Sixers

Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey, left, and Joel Embiid react after a basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

You could look at the Sixers as a two-man team since MVP Joel Embiid and guard Tyrese Maxey have been leading the way to start the season. That would be a mistake. The Sixers, having unloaded James Harden and getting depth in return, have developed quite an actual “team.” While Maxey and Embiid have been playing out of their minds to start the year, the Sixers have been getting contributions all around.

Until his recent injury, Kelly Oubre Jr. had been stepping in as the third-best player on the team that most people assumed, for a few years, that Tobias Harris would be. Oubre Jr. is averaging 16.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in his eight games this season. The team will be without Oubre, at least for a little while, as he recovers from his injury.

Tobias Harris, who never seems to get any love from the Philly fans, is quietly putting together a very good start to the year. Appearing in all thirteen games so far, Harris is averaging 19.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while shooting just under 55.9% from the floor. Harris is having the same statistical season as his 2020/21 campaign. The numbers are eerily similar. It’s also the best he’s played since that year. He’s been a huge asset for the team this season as he’s gone about his business, night in and night out.

A huge comeuppance has been from guard DeAnthony Melton. Everything that the Sixers had hoped they were getting last season and the start of this season has started to emerge over his last several games. Melton, over his last four games, is averaging 20.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He’s shooting 44.1% on his three-point attempts, with both Melton and Maxey over 44%; the team has been getting great production from their starting guards.

With Oubre Jr. out and Nico Batum back and starting in his spot, the Sixers will look to get their guards the open looks that they’ve been afforded over the past several games. (Side note: Nico Batum is hitting on 64.3% of his three-point attempts on three attempts per game, which is ridiculous.)

What to look for from the Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland (10) drives against Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

The Cavaliers are in a strange place this season, having won 51 games just last year but only having a 7-6 record coming into tonight’s game. They’re riding a three-game winning streak while missing their leading scorer, Donovan Mitchell, for the past two of those games, as he was injured last Wednesday against Portland and missed the next two games. Mitchell is currently listed as out for tonight’s game as he recovers from the hamstring injury.

Without Mitchell’s team-leading 29.2 points per game, the Cavs will be looking for production from Darius Garland, Even Mobley, Jarrett Allen, and Max Strus. Garland is the second leading scorer on the team with 19.6 points per game and led the team with 26 points, three rebounds, and six assists on Sunday as the Cavs beat the defending NBA Champion Denver Nuggets, 121-109. Garland will need to have another big game with the defensive depth the Sixers will throw at him if the Cavs are going to have a chance of beating the Sixers.

Caris LeVert Is averaging 18 points per game for the team but is listed as questionable for tonight’s games as he battles a knee injury. That leaves off-season acquisition Max Strus to fill in, as he’s been averaging 14.3 points per game. This isn’t ideal for the Cavaliers, as they’re facing a very good Sixers team.

Jarrett Allen, who always seems to present a problem for the Sixers, will need to have a great game against the Sixers’ frontcourt. Allen is averaging 12 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, and that won’t be nearly enough if the team is going to win this game. Allen’s size and athleticism present problems for some but Embiid, along with Paul Reed, Tobias Harris, and Nico Batum, have the ability to defend him well.

For tonight, the Cavaliers will need to get some quality minutes from Evan Mobley and Craig Porter Jr., as they combined 37 points against the Nuggets, as well as former Sixer Georges Niang, who had 12 points against the Nuggets. While the team has played well over its three-game winning streak, especially against the Nuggets, they’re facing a rough night in South Philly.

Sixers may have too much depth

Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington (33) drives against Atlanta Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter (12) during the first half of an In-Season Tournament NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

While the Sixers’ downfall over the past few seasons has been a lack of bench depth and quality, that’s simply not the case this season. The Sixers have some bigger bodies in Paul Reed, Embiid, Harris, and Batum, to go along with guard depth in the form of Pat Beverly, Daniel House Jr., and Jaden Springer, who’s been playing well after finally getting some quality minutes on the floor.

Philadelphia has the ability to get fresh legs on the floor while not sacrificing too much on the offensive end, and they have some very good defenders.

That doesn’t even take into account that Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, and KJ Martin are still getting acclimated to the team and system, while head coach Nick Nurse hasn’t needed to give them any extended minutes. As the team continues to come together in Nurse’s system and get used to playing with each other, they seem to be getting better with each contest. Tonight shouldn’t be much different.

As the Sixers are facing a depleted Cavaliers team, the Cavs have proven they can win. Tonight it looks like their win streak will end as the Sixers just have too much depth, too many weapons, and they’re starting to really play well together. It’s a luxury that the Sixers faithful have not had the pleasure of watching over the past few seasons. Look for another big game as they continue their early regular season success.

Prediction: Sixers 127 – Cavs 108