The Cavaliers remain in the play-in tournament and will likely finish in seventh place in the Eastern Conference. If that were to happen today, they would host the Atlanta Hawks in the play-in tournament. Winner of that game locks in the seventh seed. The loser has to play the winner between the Charlotte Hornets and the Brooklyn Nets for the eighth seed. There’s only a two-game gap between Cleveland and Atlanta and every game counts going forward.
HOW TO WATCH
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (43-35) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (47-30)
Where: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse - Cleveland, OH
When: 6:00 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports App, NBA League Pass
Spread: Sixers -4
Opposing blog: Liberty Ballers
Expected Cavs starting lineup: Darius Garland / Isaac Okoro / Caris LeVert / Lauri Markkanen / Moses Brown
Cavs injury report: Jarrett Allen (OUT - finger), Collin Sexton (OUT - knee), Dean Wade (OUT - knee), Rajon Rondo (QUESTIONABLE - ankle), Evan Mobley (OUT - ankle)
Expected Sixers starting lineup: Tyrese Maxey / James Harden/ Matisse Thybulle / Tobias Harris / Joel Embiid
Sixers injury report: Charles Bassey (OUT - G League), Charlie Brown (OUT - G League), Joel Embiid (QUESTIONABLE - ankle), Myles Powell (OUT - G League), Gabe Vincent (OUT - G League)
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
SHUTTING IT DOWN FOR THE PLAYOFFS: The Cavs only have a handful of games remaining in the season. Cleveland is also on the second of a back-to-back. Darius Garland is averaging over 40 minutes per game and has dealt with back issues. With how banged up this Cavs squad is, maybe head coach J.B. Bickerstaff starts shutting it down with today's game?
THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS FOR SWEET MOSES BROWN: With no Jarrett Allen or Evan Mobley for this one, Moses Brown, along with Kevin Love and Lauri Markkanen, will get the honor of defending Joel Embiid. Embiid is arguably one of the leading candidates for league MVP this season. If the Cavs want to help out Giannis or Jokic, slowing down Embiid would be the best thing to do. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Embiid has the second-best odds at +185 for winning NBA MVP this season.
MATCHING OKORO’S MINUTES WITH HARDEN’S: This one is pretty simple. James Harden is the head of the snake for the Sixers and the Cavs need to shut him down in order to try and win ugly against them. That means matching Harden minute for minute with Isaac Okoro - the team’s best overall wing defender.