Cleveland Cavaliers: Key matchups against the Philadelphia 76ers


The Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Philadelphia 76ers at 7 pm EST. The Cavaliers are riding a seven-game win streak and look to push it to eight with a win against the Sixers.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are 12-7 on the season and, after a rough start to the season, are finally starting to heat up. They are coming off a close win against the Hornets (100-99) where LeBron James had a 27 points, 13 assists, and 16 rebound triple-double. The Cavaliers kept Charlotte to 38.3% shooting but struggled on the boards, 45-55 in favor of Charlotte.

Against the Sixers, they will need to be better on the boards and maintain their defensive intensity. Philly is currently ranked fifth in the East, and look to prove that they can contend in the East with a win against the Cavaliers. The Sixers rank fifth in PPG at 109.6, but rank 23rd in opposing PPG at 107.4. The Cavs rank fourth in PPG at 110.8 and 27th in opposing PPG at 110.1.

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Ben Simmons is expected to make his return against the Cleveland Cavaliers after sitting out against the Orlando Magic. Simmons is averaging 18.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game on 51.3% shooting. He is doing so without hitting a single three thus far. LeBron James is averaging 28.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 8.6 assists per game on 58% shooting and 42.2% from deep. LeBron has played extremely well against the Sixers since his return to Cleveland, but going against a player of similar skillset such as Simmons could be more of a challenge. It will be interesting to watch LeBron James battle against this talented rookie “point-guard.”

Joel Embiid is on the road to becoming the best center in the league and is averaging 22.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game on 50.2% shooting. He will go to war against Kevin Love, who has been playing some great basketball in his own right. Love is averaging 17.9 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists on 45.6% shooting in this young season. Though both have played well against each other previously; this will be the first time they go head-to-head at the center position. Both centers are extremely versatile and should be exciting to see how both play against one another.

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The Cavs need to stay locked in on the defensive end for the full 48 minutes. LeBron needs to keep playing like LeBron and try to limit Simmons from getting to the rim. Kevin Love needs to take advantage of his scoring opportunities and make Embiid as uncomfortable as he possibly can. And of course, the Cavs bench need to keep up their streak of phenomenal play.