Earlier this week, the Cavaliers played the 76ers much closer and tougher than anyone could have expected. These are two very different teams — one is rebuilding and moving into a new era, the other is a legit Finals contender and features some of the league’s very best players. On paper, the game is a mismatch.
And yet, the Cavs played the 76ers tough, only losing the game in the final minutes. Cleveland led by as many as five in the final four minutes and seemed to have all of the momentum. But then Philadelphia clamped down, tightened up its defense and relied on Joel Embiid to Joel Embiid things. The Cavs ultimately still had a shot to win in the game’s final moments, but a Kevin Love three-point attempt was too hard and hit the back of the rim:
- Cavs rookie guard Darius Garland shot 3-10 on Tuesday in the first matchup. The 76ers size advantage presents problems for Garland and he had issues getting his shots off cleanly. On Sunday, it’ll be paramount for him to have a better game and show he can adapt and learn from previous struggles.
- Kevin Love shot 5-16 overall and 2-7 on three-pointers. For the Cavs to win, even if they play with the same intensity as they did before, Love has to be better. For the season, he’s shooting 44.9% from the field and 34.3% from the field.
- Embiid spent most of Tuesday guarded by Tristan Thompson and shot 6-12 in their minutes opposite one another. Considering Embiid is shooting a little bit under 50% for the season, the Cavs can work with a similar number again Sunday. The key is making him work for everything he gets and frustrate him when possible. That responsibility really falls on Thompson’s shoulder.
This is simply a very fun Sunday basketball game. It’s a chance to see Joel Embiid in person and see if the Cavs can maintain what worked in the first matchup. Perhaps some key players — maybe on both sides — will miss time. But there’s still enough to be excited about to make this a must-watch. Plus, it’s at 3 p.m. — how good is some early Sunday basketball before the work week begins in earnest?
Where: Quicken Loans Arena — Cleveland, Ohio
When: Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019 at 3 p.m. EST
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