Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (2-14) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (13-7)
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Where on my eyeballs: Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
76ers injuries: Markelle Fultz (Shoulder - Out), Zhaire Smith (Allergic reaction - Out)
Cavs injuries: Kevin Love (Foot - Out), George Hill (Shoulder - Out), Sam Dekker (Ankle - Out), J.R. Smith (
Courtside with Rich Paul Not with team/ excused absence- Out)
It’ll be interesting to see if David Nwaba remains in the starting lineup now that LeBron is out of town. The 76ers have a bevy of perimeter options that can kill a team. It would make sense that the Cavs would leave Nwaba in.
Keys to the game:
Cedi needs to excel on both ends. Cedi Osman has had an up-and-down year that’s also been marred by some injury issues. He played one of his best games of the season against the Lakers though, hitting five threes, finishing in transition and generally excelling as a disruptor. He will have to bother Jimmy Butler and exorcise some demons against Ben Simmons, who so thoroughly eviscerated him in last year’s regular season matchup that he may have knocked him out of the playoff rotation.
Survive against Embiid without fouling. Tristan Thompson is one of the best post defenders the league has to offer, but Joel Embiid is a sort of beast he has a hard time with. Embiid’s got nearly four inches on him and he’s considerably heavier and stronger. It’s a tough matchup, and Larry Nance is in an even tougher spot. They can’t make this a parade to the foul line, though. Ideally Ante Zizic won’t be thrown to the wolves.
For the love of God, don’t lose J.J. Redick. This is not a test I expect the Cavaliers to pass. J.J. continues to look ageless on offense, and his constant flurry of activity preys on poor defenses prone to poor communication. Hello, Cavaliers. While panicking trying to contain the 76ers primary options (that they probably can’t contain), they’ll likely allow Redick to get off. Stashing a smart defender like Nwaba or Kyle Korver on him would be nice, even if Korver gets burned from time to time.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction:
The Cavaliers don’t often play two good games in a row. Combine that with a Thanksgiving and LeBron-induced hangover and it’s hard to imagine a competitive game. 76ers 126, Cavaliers 104.