Sixers open trip at Cleveland looking for 6th straight win
The surging Philadelphia 76ers will look for their sixth consecutive victory when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.
The Sixers handily defeated the Washington Wizards 112-93 on Sunday, and they will open a three-game road trip in Cleveland.
Joel Embiid registered his sixth straight game with at least 30 points as he accumulated 34 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots.
Philadelphia's James Harden added 18 points and 14 assists for his 31st points-assists double-double this season.
Embiid continued his dominance on the defensive end and also received some much-needed rest by sitting out the fourth quarter with the victory sealed early.
"I'm healthier. It helps a lot," Embiid said. "And we're getting to that point in the season where you have to be on point when it comes to everything offensively and defensively. In the past, my defense from the regular season to the playoffs has always gone to another level, so it's all about trying to build it.
"Like I always say, I'm just working on my game and seeing what works and what doesn't, but we need that intensity defensively as a team."
Sixers forward Jalen McDaniels sustained a right hip contusion in the Washington game. He sat out practice on Tuesday, and it was unclear if he would be able to play against the Cavaliers.
"I don't think it's serious," Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said. "I think he'll be fine. It's scary. It looked like he when he first hit it, it was a little scary bump, but it looks like he'll be OK."
The Cavaliers will shoot for their third straight win, as they are coming off consecutive road victories over the Charlotte Hornets.
Cleveland won 114-108 on Sunday and followed with a 120-104 triumph on Tuesday.
Evan Mobley put up 26 points in the rematch for the Cavaliers, who were without Donovan Mitchell (finger sprain) and Jarrett Allen (eye contusion).
Cedi Osman scored 24 points, Caris LeVert had 22 and Darius Garland added 19 for Cleveland, which shot 51.1 percent from the floor and 46.7 percent (14 of 30) from 3-point range.
Despite the lack of depth, the Cavaliers had little trouble dispatching the reeling Hornets, though the task will be much tougher against the Sixers.
"Understanding the value of every possession, that's one of the things that we've been talking to the guys about," Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "As the games become bigger, more critical, every possession matters. Being able to get a shot on goal matters. When you have guys who can create, who can score, it's important to put it up on the rim. At least give yourself a chance."
The Cavaliers should be deeper on Wednesday, as Mitchell is expected to play. Allen has missed two games in a row since getting hurt on Friday against the Miami Heat. He is considered day-to-day, according to Bickerstaff.
"With Jarrett, it is just a matter of how quickly it recovers," Bickerstaff said. "With eyes, it's difficult to put a timetable on it."
--Field Level Media
Updated March 15, 2023