The Philadelphia 76ers may not be good, but they're always ready for a fight. And that's what they gave the Cleveland Cavaliers this afternoon.
Despite a comfortable 53-45 halftime lead for the Cavs, the 76ers gave them all they could handle in the second half, leading to a tight game with about four minutes to go, with the Cavs clinging to an 87-86 lead after a Robert Covington three. However, if you had turned the game off at that point, you would already know the final score. The rest of the game was an absolute rock fight, with turnovers, bad missed shots, and generally horrendous offense down the stretch. Neither team scored in the last 3:57 of the game, and it was just an ugly showing all around in the second half. The Cavs shot 38.8 percent for the game, and only hit 2-12 from three in the second half. Just a gross, ugly contest, but fortunately the Sixers' offense is historically bad, so the Cavs were able to come away with the win.
Random Thoughts from the Game
- Losing Iman Shumpert and Kevin Love to seemingly minor injuries today is nothing short of aggrevating. Shump tweaked his left ankle in the 2nd quarter landing from a transition dunk attempt, and did not return. Then in the fourth quarter, Love seemed to land awkwardly contesting a rebound, and walked straight off the floor to the locker room. It seems to be just back spasms, but still, that's two major rotation guys for the Cavs going out in an arguably meaningless game against the Sixers. Hopefully both players are only out for a little bit, and the three days of rest before the game against the Miami Heat will be helpful, but still, stretch run injuries, especially the one to Love in what is a known problem area, are a bit of a downer.
- LeBron was pretty mediocre tonight. He shot 8-24 from the field, which isn't great, but was active on the glass with 11 rebounds, as well as 6 assists to go with his 20 points. He seemed a little too willing to settle for long shots off the dribble instead of attacking the basket. When he did though, he usually finished, and his defensive effort was pretty solid late, even though he had some definite lapses. Overall, an ok game.
- The biggest disappointment of Shump and Love getting hurt are that both players actually played pretty well tonight. Love had 10 points and 10 rebounds, was pretty active defensively against Nerlens Noel, and overall looked to be pretty well involved in the offense. Shump was great in transition, and he had nine points and three steals before going down. Those were two of the team's better performances, relatively speaking.
- Mozgov was dynamite on the offensive glass and at the rim. He finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, with five of those being on the offensive glass. Most of those points came finishing lobs from Kyrie Irving and LeBron, and I'm pretty sure he dunked on every member of the 76ers' frontcourt, which was fun.
- Robert Covington dropped 19 points including 5-9 from three. He's one of the most underrated three-point shooters in the league, and he definitely kept the Sixers in this game. He's quite good.
- Noel, however, wasn't so good. He had eight points on 12 shots, 11 rebounds and three assists. Noel just looked out of sorts throughout the game, like a baby giraffe learning to walk. He got posted up a lot inside, and most of those looks resulted in him hurling the ball at the rim and hoping for the best. His talent is obvious, but he just has no fluidity to his game on the offensive end. Even though he did a pretty good job defensively (When Mozgov wasn't dunking on his face), I wouldn't call Noel's game a success tonight.