A fun contest in Cleveland on Wednesday night with the Philadelphia 76ers defeating the Cavs, 118-109. The Sixers have now won six in a row and win the three-game season series over the Cavs with a 2-1 record. It wasn’t easy on Wednesday night as Philadelphia had to do all they could to fight back after trailing by as much as 13 in the second half. But they found a way and now extend their lead over Cleveland to four games in the Eastern Conference Standings with a record of 46-22 that keeps them in the third seed.
Here’s what stood out:
- The Sixers committed seven turnovers in the opening quarter against the Cavs. Many of them unforced and live ball opportunities for Cleveland the other way. Philadelphia led 29-24 after one. But you have to wonder how much larger the lead could’ve been if not for the miscues. By games end, Philadelphia turned the ball over 20 times leading to 23 Cleveland points the other way. That part needs to be cleaned up.
- Joel Embiid was brilliant from the start. Physical play mixed with some finesse when needed against the Cavaliers shorthanded front line with starting center Jarrett Allen missing Wednesday night’s game. Embiid was able to get to free throw line early and often. Plus he hit the very familiar mid-range jumper at will. He finished with 36 points, 18 rebounds, and four blocked shots. His defensive presence was felt not only with the blocks but also altering a number of attempts by Cleveland that led to a few missed shots. Tremendous work by the MVP candidate.
- Speaking of Embiid, the Sixers really dodged one in the fourth quarter with 4:12 to play. The big fella made a move to the free throw line for his patented jumper from the elbow. But they called him for an offensive foul. His sixth. The 76ers’ head coach challenged the call and the officials overturned it, allowing Embiid to stay in the game. Who knows how the game would’ve played out if he was disqualified? A huge moment for the team as they picked up the victory.
- P.J. Tucker played a heck of a game. In the waning moments of the game, the Cavs got an offensive rebound. But Tucker got a great strip off Caris Levert. It led to James Harden collecting the loose ball and hitting two free throws for the Sixers. Thankless job by the veteran. But those are the winning plays they brought him in to make.