Sixers Take On LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers
It’s frequently stated that the NBA schedule is a coaches best friend, giving his team the chance to put a tough loss in their rearview mirror by giving them another game to play right away.
Those people never had to “bounce back” against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
LeBron James and company head into their afternoon matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers riding a three-game winning streak and with a 12-2 record on the season, with LeBron James (23.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 9.5 assists per game), Kyrie Irving (23.8 points per game), and Kevin Love (22.1 points per game) leading the league’s second-ranked offensive attack.
What: Sixers (4-12) vs Cavs (12-2)
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
When: Sunday, November 27th at 1 PM
Watch: Comcast SportsNet
Projected Starting Lineups:
Sixers: Sergio Rodriguez, Gerald Henderson, Robert Covington, Ersan Ilyasova, Joel Embiid
Cavs: Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson
(Note: Official starting lineups are released approximately one hour before the game).
Sixers: Ben Simmons (out, fractured right foot), Nerlens Noel (out, knee), Jerryd Bayless (out, sore left wrist).
Cavs: Channing Frye (out, personal)
About The Opponent:
The defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers don’t need much of an introduction. If you’ve been paying attention to basketball even a little bit over the last decade you’ve surely seen LeBron James play in an NBA finals. He’s appeared in six of them in a row, after all.
What’s different about this year’s Cavs team is they finally seem like they’ve figured out how to utilize Kevin Love within their offensive system, truly having a “big 3” as planned for the first time. Love, who is averaging 22.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game while maintaining a 60.1 percent true shooting percentage, had averaged just 16.2 points per game over his first two seasons in Cleveland.
That has helped transform what was already a great offensive team into an absolute juggernaut, with only Golden State besting Cleveland’s 115.1 points per 100 possession offensive output. They’re the best three-point shooting team in the league at 40 percent, take care of the ball (turnovers on 11.6 percent of their offensive possessions, fifth best), and don’t have a real offensive weakness.
What To Look For:
Can the Sixers compete.
Really, that’s all you’re hoping for.
The Sixers played the Cavs tough earlier in the season, losing 102-101 to the Cavs at the Wells Fargo Center in the 5th game of the season behind 22 points from Joel Embiid. The Sixers’ star rookie will play tonight, with his usual 24-minute playing time restriction. They’ll need a dominant performance from Embiid to have a chance.
The Sixers made LeBron James work in their previous matchup, as James required 23 shots to get his 25 points. They’ll obviously need to limit him as much as possible once again.
The Sixers also got huge contributions from the bench the last time these two teams met, getting 21 points from recently-acquired Ersan Ilyasova (now starting) and 14 points from Jahlil Okafor off the bench.
Derek Bodner covers the 76ers for Philadelphia magazine. Follow @DerekBodnerNBA on Twitter.