The Cleveland Cavaliers are in Philadelphia tonight to take on the scorching-hot 76ers. It’s a, In-Season Tournament matchup of two teams hoping to break through in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but their paths this season have been very different. The Sixers are riding a breakout season from Tyrese Maxey, while the Cavs are trying to survive as injuries hit every position on the roster.
Cleveland has managed to win each of its last three games despite missing a starter in each, and they drubbed the Denver Nuggets on Sunday despite missing four rotation guards. Will they be healthier for tonight’s game? Will their All-NBA shooting guard be available for this important showdown?
Donovan Mitchell has been ruled OUT for tonight’s game due to a hamstring injury.
Mitchell missed a game against the Indiana Pacers earlier in the season when he first suffered the hamstring strain, then returned to play multiple games before re-aggravating the injury against the Portland Trail Blazers. Tonight will be his third consecutive missed game as he rehabs the muscle injury.
Caris LeVert also missed the Cavaliers’ victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday evening, and he is currently listed as QUESTIONABLE with a knee injury. LeVert is having a strong season, playing big minutes off the bench to help cover for the myriad of injuries this team has faced.
Darius Garland has missed five games this season, but right now he is completely off of the injury report. His backups, however, remain out: Ricky Rubio continues to be away from the team to focus on his mental health, with no timetable for his return. Ty Jerome, signed this offseason to back up Rubio, suffered a severe ankle injury in the second game of the season and remains out. Isaac Okoro will also miss the game with a knee injury.
Kelly Oubre Jr. of the Philadelphia 76ers will miss tonight’s game as he recovers from injuries sustained when a car struck him. He participated in practice on Monday, a good sign as he progresses toward a return. No other 76ers players are listed on the injury report.
Tonight’s game is one of the four In-Season Tournament group-stage games for the Cavaliers and 76ers. The Cavaliers are currently 1-1 and will need to win their two remaining games to have a chance at advancing, either by winning the group or securing the one Eastern Conference Wild Card slot. The 76ers will likewise be paying with urgency as a loss essentially eliminates them as well.
The Indiana Pacers control their own destiny in the group with a 2-0 record and wins in hand over both Cleveland and Philadelphia. If the Cavs can beat the 76ers and Atlanta Hawks, however, they’ll have a chance to secure the Wild Card spot. That makes tonight’s game a must-win.