Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Philadelphia 76ers preseason preview


The Cleveland Cavaliers are set to take the court for the second time this season as the Philadelphia 76ers come to the Q.

The Cleveland Cavaliers won their first preseason game convincingly over the Orlando Magic. Now they will take on the Philadelphia 76ers.

One caveat is that Ben Simmons, the No. 1 overall pick from the 2016 draft, will not be playing. Simmons, who is often likened to LeBron James‘ skillset, suffered a Jones Fracture in his foot, had surgery and will miss several months.

Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson will also be out of commission, though he is sitting out the next two preseason games due to soreness in his foot.

The talent on the floor won’t suffer much, if at all. The Cavs will have an opportunity to greater assess their frontcourt. While Chris Andersen and Channing Frye are sure-fire locks for the roster, perhaps Eric Moreland or Cory Jefferson could help their case to provide extra depth in the frontcourt.

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Tyronn Lue and his coaching staff had a great opportunity to evaluate the backup point guard position in the first game as Kyrie Irving sat out for rest. Irving is expected to be back in the lineup against the Sixers and will have his first in-game action since hitting a historic, heroic shot in June.

However, while the point guard position is still up for consideration, it will be interesting to see if Toney Douglas plays more than 12 minutes in this second preseason game. He wasn’t a major player in the game against the Magic, only scoring two points on 1-for-4 shooting. As a veteran player, the Cavs need to see more from him to ensure he can make a difference on this team.

It will also be Cleveland’s first look at Joel Embiid, who has sat out the last two seasons with injuries. Embiid factors to be a key floor-spacing center. He has the range to hit longer jumpers, and knock down mid-range shots off of pick-and-rolls.

Jahlil Okafor is more of a post-playing center. He had a good rookie season last year, averaging 17.5 points per game and will factor in as a key scorer again for the Sixers. Meanwhile Nerlens Noel is an athletic big man that excels as a role man off of pick-and-roll situations. Embiid seems to have a skillset that combines both of Okafor’s and Noel’s games.

For the Cavs, it will be a good opportunity to run set plays and try to free some players up for open shots. With the size that Philadelphia has in the paint, the Cavs could be forced to run more sets as opposed to penetrating and finding open shooters.

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An entertaining point in the game will be any time that 5-foot-9 point guard Kay Felder has an opportunity to challenge one of the three Philly bigs at the rim. Felder’s explosiveness and quickness could allow for a potential posterizing dunk.

All-in-all, the key for the Cavs is going to be executing their set plays against a team with a superior post presence. It should also be an opportunity to experiment with smaller lineups, such as playing Felder and Irving on the court at the same time, which seems natural since Irving plays like a shooting guard at times.

Gametime is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. This the last preseason game that is to be played at the Q. The Cavs’ third “home” preseason game will be played in Columbus, OH at Value City Arena.

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What are you looking forward to when the Cavs take on the 76ers on Saturday? Let us know in the comments section or on Twitter @KJG_NBA.