Cavaliers pounded by Sixers 114-95
BY STONE LEXINGTON
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - Five days ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers lost a heartbreaking game to the 76ers in Philadelphia. Cleveland had a five-point lead over the heavily favored Sixers with less than four minutes to play, but the youthful Cavaliers ultimately lost by a measly point. Five days later, the two teams met in Cleveland with the Cavs looking for a measure of revenge.
“The 76ers have a great team,” Cavs head coach John Beilein said. “They came back on us last time, they missed a lot of open threes.”
The Sixers also missed plenty of contested threes in their first meeting with the Cavaliers this season, shooting 8-of-38 (21 percent) from beyond the arc. In Sunday’s matinee contest against Cleveland, however, the Sixers didn’t miss many favorable shots, shooting 55 percent from the field en route to a dominating 114-95 victory in Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
The Cavs actually led 18-16 with 4:56 remaining in the first quarter, and it looked like they might give Philly another tough battle. However, Sixers forward James Ennis sank a three-pointer on Philadelphia’s ensuing possession, giving Philadelphia a one-point lead. Ennis’ trey sparked a 17-4 run to close the quarter that gave Philadelphia a 33-22 lead heading into the second.
It only got worse for the Cavs from there.
A few minutes into the second quarter, a Brandon Knight layup ended the Philly run that stretched out to 21-4. The Sixers, however, had already amassed a 37-24 advantage, and when 76ers guard Matisse Thybulle drained a three-pointer a little more than two minutes later, Philadelphia’s lead had swelled to 20 points, 46-26.
Philadelphia led by as many as 29 points in the second quarter and took a 68-44 lead into halftime. The Cavs never recovered from the early onslaught, but Beilein knows his young team has some growing to do.
“We’ll be evolving all year long,” Beilein said. “I’m just not even going to think about where should we be at now, I’m thinking more about what can I do and our staff do and our players do today to make us a better team.”
Four Cavaliers scored at least 17 points in the first meeting this season, but only one reached that mark on Sunday. Collin Sexton led the Cavs with 17 points, extending his double-digit scoring streak to 35 games.
The biggest issue for the Cavs this season has been ball movement. The Cavs entered the day ranking third-worst in assists in the league (20.2 per game) with only Utah (19.8) and Portland (17.8) ranking worse, and their ranking should only go down after Sunday’s performance. Cleveland registered just 14 assists on Sunday against Philadelphia, their second-lowest output of the season. Their lowest output was 13 assists, which came in the first game against Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, the SIxers totaled 33 assists on Sunday, led by Ben Simmons’ 11 dimes. Simmons added 10 points, while Tobias Harris led the team with 27 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Although the Cavs played a team they had already seen this season, there can be positives and negatives to such an occurrence.
“The positive is you don’t have to pour through all the personnel, because they just did play against us,” Beilein said. “It can be a negative if you say, ‘oh i got this, yeah I remember that play, I don’t have to go over that.’ Familiarity sometimes can really be a key to your success, or it can limit your success.”
The Cavs will attempt to end their three-game losing streak in New York on Monday against the Knicks.
POSTED 11/17/2019 18:43