By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers were riding high after beating the Charlotte Hornets yesterday afternoon. They faced a hungry Cleveland Cavaliers team who were looking to stop their momentum. Philly used a fourth quarter offensive explosion to beat Cleveland 112-108.
Philly did not start off the game well. They looked like a team that played the previous day. They were missing shots and were making uncharacteristic mistakes. They were a step slow on defense and Cleveland took full advantage. They made it rain from the three-point line. The Cavaliers hit 15/34 three-pointers and before Philly could even settle in the game, they were down by 12-points. Cleveland was threatening to run them off the floor. Darius Garland (23-points) and Caris LeVert (18-points) led them they combined for 51 of the Cavs 108-points. The Sixers had non answers for both. They were able to attack the rim and find their teammates wide-open from the three-point line. Philly was able to make some defensive adjustments late in the game to keep Garland in check and force LeVert into tougher shots.
The Sixers weathered the early storm and were able to cut to lead to six-points by half-time. Joel Embiid led them he scored 44-points, grabbed 17-rebounds, and hit three pivotal three-pointers. Cleveland had no answers for him. He made them pay for daring to not send a double-team his way. Embiid got Cleveland’s defenders into early foul trouble and after that no one could check him. He single-handedly kept his team in this game when they should not have been. His playmaking has continued to be a highlight of the Sixers season. He was able to make the pivotal plays late in this game that kept his team ahead in this game. He continues to trust his teammates, and that development has helped Philly pull out wins that should have been losses.
Philly was able to turn the heat up on defense and force the Cavaliers into some back-breaking turnovers which helped the Sixers keep the Cavs at bay despite a late-game push.
The Sixers will now prepare for the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. They will need another balanced scoring night if they want to keep up with the Pacers. Additionally, they will need to improve their perimeter defensive scheme if they want to get their 49th win of the season.