An hour before game-time, Cleveland ruled out Kevin Love due to a sore hip. The Cavaliers haven’t had Tristan Thompson and Isaiah Thomas. They lost a tough game in Indiana last night and returned home in the wee hours of the morning.
Philadelphia was without Joel Embiid and the writing was on the wall for a Cleveland loss tonight. The starters didn’t play particularly well in the first quarter, but the bench mob of Kyle Korver, Dwyane Wade and Jeff Green were fantastic tonight. They each had 13 points and shot over 50 percent from the field tonight.
As for the first unit, LeBron James was his usual MVP self, notching a triple-double, with 30 points, 13 assists and 13 rebounds in a game-high 39 minutes. But the tired legs were showing, as he had six turnovers and shot 9-of-23 from the field. Jae Crowder had one of his best games in wine and gold, including a late three-pointer that every Cavalier celebrated.
Turnovers in the second half kept the 76ers in the game, who were short-handed without Embiid. Ben Simmons was solid tonight, adding 14 points and 10 assists. Robert Covington and JJ Redick each had 19 points, keeping Philadelphia in with the three-point shot. New addition Trevor Booker had 12 points for the 76ers, continuously giving the Cavaliers problems with no Thompson and Love.
The beauty of having LeBron on your team can be seen in one thing: James had double-digit rebounds in the second half, knowing full well that Cleveland didn’t have its usual big men. On any given night, whatever you need from No. 23, he’s able to give it you and that’s exactly what makes him so special.
These are the type of games that great teams find a way to win. Players out, second night of a back-to-back, opponent’s missing their superstar and you just have to find a way to win. That’s what Cleveland did tonight. While it wasn’t their best performance of the season, in an 82-game season, these W’s are important.
Cleveland next play against the Hawks on Tuesday night. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.