The Cleveland Cavaliers upset the Philadelphia 76ers at home to put an end to the Sixers’ 23-game home win streak due hot nights for the Cavs’ guards.
The Philadelphia 76ers have been unbeatable at home to start the season (10 straight) and they looked to win their 24th straight home game tonight against Cleveland. If the Sixers expected the Cleveland Cavaliers to be easy, they were in for a long night.
The Cavaliers came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, making difficult shots from every spot on the court, and hustling on both ends of the floor. This included stellar performances from Rodney Hood, the rookie, Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman, and Jordan Clarkson, who finished with 25, 23, 20, and 19 points respectively.
The Cleveland Cavaliers starting the game off on a 22-8 run. The 76ers were shaky defensively to start, giving the Cavs some easy looks from mid-range and from deep. The Cavs had solid production in the first period from Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman who contributed 10 and 12 points.
The Cavs doubled Joel Embiid every time he got the ball in the post, making it difficult for him to find good looks. The Sixers picked it up offensively cutting the defecit down with help from an attacking Ben Simmons, who stopped the Cavs’ run with a transition layup and a Kareem-esque hook shot. The Sixers were down 31-23 at the end of the first thanks to quick starts from Sexton and Hood.
J.J. Redick started the second quarter with a self-made 8-0 run to tie the game. The Sixers’ starters continued their hot shooting from three. Redick made three while Embiid and Jimmy Butler each knocked down a pair. Redick would exit the second quarter early after racking up his third foul on a questionable defensive foul.
Assertive Ben Simmons showed up to play tonight. He was aggressive in transition, attacking the rim with authority, and finding open teammates while flying full speed into the paint.
The Cavs were aggressive on the glass in the first half. On the offensive end, they grabbed 11 offensive rebounds, scoring 11 second-chance points, compared to the Sixers having zero offensive boards and no second-chance points. Tristan Thompson almost had a double-double in the first half and dominated the boards.
The Sixers never gained control of the game, going into halftime tied at 54 against this 2-14 Cavs team. With the Cavs missing Kevin Love and George Hill, you would assume the 76ers would have control of this game. Collin Sexton had been criticized by veteran teammates for his play but tonight he ran the team like a vet.
Philly shot well from beyond the arc, knocking down 9-20 in the first half but their defense was far from stellar, continuing to give Cleveland high percentage looks.
Redick went into the second half with three fouls and to his luck, 27 seconds into the 3rd quarter Redick picked up his 4th personal foul. Redick’s scoring and movement off the ball were missed but Simmons and Butler played well to fill the gap. Butler found his way scoring, using screens to knock down threes and driving to the basket.
Butler and Simmons weren’t enough to stop the hot Cleveland starting five. The starters scored the teams first 77 points. The story for the Cleveland Cavaliers through three quarters were the scoring contributions from Rodney Hood and Collin Sexton, with 22 points each. They knocked down deep twos at an unreal level and used picks to slip off to hit open 14-footers.
The Sixers were down 84-83 at the end of the third. Through 36 minutes the game was relatively close with 10 lead changes and 10 ties.
Jordan Clarkson started the fourth hot, making three quick shots. The Cavs continued to break down the Sixers’ defense which is something you would not expect from a Cavs team projected to win 10 games this year.
The Cavs continued to hit tough shots and increased their lead to nine (104-95) with a smidge over six minutes left in the game. Tristan Thompson even hit a turn around, free throw line, fade-away jumper on Embiid as the shot clock expired. A timeout was called and the Sixers were welcomed with loud boos from the fans at The Wells Fargo Center as the walked to the bench.
The Cavs maintained a nine-plus point lead throughout the remainder of the game. The Cavaliers just kept making incredibly difficult shots. Jordan Clarkson scored 17 of his 19 points in the fourth and helped maintain the Cleveland lead.
With two minutes left the Sixers finally started to show some sense of urgency but it was too late. The Sixers just did not show the energy they had in previous games this season. The young Cavs team were hustling for long rebounds and loose balls and you could tell the Cavs wanted it way more than Philly.
The game ended with the Sixers fouling the Cavs and getting garbage time points to try and cut the lead down. The game ended in a 121-112 loss for the 76ers.
The Philadelphia 76ers showed up tonight and took the Cleveland Cavaliers for granted. The Cavs outplayed the Sixers and put up 120 points on the Sixers. Cleveland averaged the 2nd worst points per game in the NBA this year at 103 PPG.
The reason the Sixers lost was a combination of bad defense and a hot shooting night from the Cavs. It’s tough to win a game when a team makes so many long twos and timely three-pointers as the Cavs did. This game snapped a 23 game home win streak for the Sixers, dating back to March last season.
The one trait everyone wants to see Ben Simmons consistently portray is his offensive aggressiveness. By that, I mean Ben finding ways to create and get up his own shots. Tonight Ben was superb in attacking the basket. He was very efficient shooting from the field and found scoring opportunities getting mismatches in the post. He used a Kareem-esque sky hook, pump fakes, and his 6-foot-10 frame to attack the basket in transition.
Even though the Sixers lost tonight, seeing Ben with a determined will to score is one positive aspect to take from tonight. He also set up his teammates well tonight with 10 assists and only one turnover.
Joel Embiid struggled to get up as many shots as he is accustomed to. Almost every time he got the ball in the post he was immediately double-teamed. Embiid got up seven fewer shots than he is used to per night.
Tristan Thompson is a small, quick, and tenacious rebounder for a center. Embiid is not used to small, quick, centers and he struggled on the boards tonight against him at times throughout the game. T.T. had eight offensive rebounds, which primarily came in the first half. Embiid put an end to it in the second half but second-chance points really hurt Philly in the first half.
A sub-par game for Embiid includes 24 and 12 and that just shows the dominance he imposes to his opponents every night.
J.J. Redick’s foul trouble really hurt the Sixers tonight. He had three in the first half and 27 seconds into the 3rd he accumulated his 4th had to sit the rest of the quarter. J.J. posted the highest plus/minus out of the starters tonight and when he was out of the game it really hurt the team.
His scoring and ability to stretch the floor and keep defenses moving, shuffling, and switching due to his active movement is a pivotal aspect of the offense. The team is 15.6 points per 100 possessions better with Redick on the floor this year.
When J.J. was on the floor he was terrific. The two-man game between him and Joel Embiid is almost unstoppable. Redick found his own shot every time he got the ball and moved and hid behind and around screens to set himself up for jumpers. Redick also drew plenty of fouls tonight that gives the team an automatic two or three points.
Jimmy Butler has acclimated perfectly to this team thus far. Tonight on offense he shot very high-percentage looks and used his teammates exactly how Brett Brown wants him to get off those shots. Jimmy played off DHO’s from Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid to get a defender one step behind him so he could attack and take a few dribbles for a pull-up, or jab and step back into a three, which he did three times.
Jimmy Butler has not been fully incorporated into the offense yet but when Redick was out in the third quarter due to foul trouble, Jimmy showed us why we traded for him. He got the ball on the wing and went to work finding his own shot on command.
Even in a disappointing loss, you saw tonight that Jimmy blends in with this team well on both ends of the court and this will continue to improve the more and more comfortable Butler gets.
Landry Shamet received extra time tonight due to J.J. Redick’s foul trouble. He had an off night from three but that is typical of a rookie. A plus is that none of his misses were bad looks or bad misses. Shamet has made the second most threes by a rookie this year and continues to improve from deep.
Shamet connected on both of his two-pointers tonight. I would have liked if he was a little more aggressive attacking the basket which he has shown in the past but all in all, he played a solid game tonight.
With the acquisition of Jimmy Butler, the time for the Sixers to win is now. This isn’t the end of the world for the Sixers but it is a reality check. They are not a team that can come into a game haphazardly and expect to win. The NBA is deeper now than it has ever been and all teams have some talent that can beat any NBA team (on occasion).
The 76ers play the Brooklyn Nets Sunday and have a great opportunity to redeem themselves and grab a win against a subpar Brooklyn team.
(Stats via Cleaning The Glass)