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Cavaliers vs. 76ers: game preview, start time and TV information

No, you're not seeing double. The Cavs play the Sixers again, and look to take the second of two games from the City of Brotherly Love in a five-day span.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It was only five days ago that we already saw this matchup, but for the second time in five days, the Cleveland Cavaliers will take on the Philadelphia 76ers. Despite two sluggish starts in their past two games, the Cavs are still in the midst of a four-game winning streak and look to get their second straight win against a woeful 76ers team.

Who: Philadelphia 76ers

Where: Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, Ohio

When: 7 p.m.

Is it on Television?: Yes, shuffling shoes with Fred and AC on FOX Sports Ohio

Enemy Blog: Liberty Ballers


Since these teams played just five days ago, we already know who the 76ers are and what they do. The only difference between that game and this one is the location and no J.R. Smith, who suffered a knee contusion on Monday. Outside of that, nothing has changed dramatically over the past 120 hours for either team. Nonetheless, there's still reasons to watch.

What to watch for

  • What's up with these starts? In their last two games, the Cavs have started the exact same way: down 32-18 against a team they shouldn't have trouble beating. Both games finished in similar fashion, with the Cavs playing three really good quarters to overcome a bad first one, winning both games in the end. In the first game, the Cavs just looked sluggish and slightly hungover from their Halloween banger. In the second game, they just couldn't get a shot to fall. Sooner or later these early deficits will be too deep to climb out of, especially against better teams. It's easy to get away with these types of games against the Sixers, but a strong showing from start-to-finish against a weak opponent would be a nice just for the heck of it.
  • One reason why the Cavs have been able to come back from these early deficits? The defense. Through a small sample of five games, the Cavs currently own the third best defensive rating in the league (92.4), just barely behind the Utah Jazz (92.1) and the Golden State Warriors (92.1). Part of that can be associated with the offenses the Cavs have faced this year, part of that could be an actually improvement on that end. Focusing on the latter, LeBron James has been active for most of the year, more than he did during most of the regular season last year. Tristan Thompson is playing at the level he was in last year's playoffs, which helped the Cavs get to within two games of winning the Finals and himself netting quite the contract in the offseason. Timofey Mozgov hasn't looked as good as last year, but he's been good enough. And Kevin Love is at least making an effort on that end! I doubt they're defense can this sustainable for the entire season, but to see these types of improvements and how it will look once they face an elite offensive team.
  • Five games, five different jerseys for the Cavs. They rocked the alternate blue's on opening night, the road wine's in game two, all white (everything) in game three, the 80s road wine's in game three and the (throws up) black alternate sleeves that LeBron tried to give his best Hulk Hogan impression to. You say there's no way this trend can continue, I say you're 100 percent wrong. They still have these, and these, maybe these, and DEFINITELY these. Which do I want to see? These ones, all day.

Fear the Sword's fearless prediction

The Cavs spotted the Sixers a 14-point lead in the first quarter, then decided to turn on the switch and dominated the final three quarters (they only won by 7, but they led by 21 with 3:41 left in the game when they took their starters out for the rest of the game). I've seen crazier things happen, but at home, with sleeveless jerseys, I see the Cavs winning this one 103-90.