It’s not every day the Cleveland Cavaliers lose a basketball game. Cleveland suffered just its third loss of the year as they fell victim to a red-hot shooting night by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Darius Garland missed his hero moment in the final seconds but strung together one of his best all-around games of the season. Garland scored 21 points with 9 assists and zero turnovers — certainly one of his better showings since returning from a fractured jaw.
As nice as the final shot would have been, this was a step in the right direction for Cleveland’s floor general.
Karmic justice was nearly on display as the 76ers elected to intentionally foul in the final seconds while leading by three points. The Cavs made both free throws and then Tyrese Maxey (an 86% free throw shooter) split his pair at the line. This put Cleveland in a position to tie or win the game with just six seconds remaining.
The Cavs still suffered defeat but basketball fun prevailed. Stop fouling up three, please.
Win Streaks: The Cavs entered tonight on a nine-game heater that ultimately fell short of reaching double-digits. The franchise record of 13 consecutive wins will remain safe for a while longer
Georges Niang continues to have a tumultuous season. Despite being a key part of some gutsy wins for the Cavs — Niang has felt like an overall negative whenever he is on the floor. Sure, his presence off the court seems to be everything the locker room needed. But tonight was a glaring example of how difficult it will be to play Niang during the playoffs.
Philadelphia relentlessly attacked Niang in open space and made him the odd man out when the ball swung around the floor. Cleveland’s defense was out of sorts for most of the night and while this can’t all be blamed on Niang, having a healthy Dean Wade could have made a difference.