Philadelphia 76ers (2-8) at
Cleveland Cavaliers (4-5)
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
7:00 PM EST
Tonight the Cleveland Cavaliers look to break their 4 game home losing streak and a 3 game losing streak overall when they welcome in the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers are really struggling this season and they will be without Andre Iguodala, which in theory would make this game at home an excellent opportunity to pick up a huge win before hitting their first tough stretch of games in the young season (at New Orleans, at San Antonio, at Indiana, Milwaukee, at Orlando, Memphis, Boston, Miami). Unfortunately, though, the Cavaliers are finding life without Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao to be predictably difficult. There aren’t many teams the Cavaliers can beat without their best offensive player (Mo) and their best defensive player (Andy), but as long as they are able to focus on the adjustments they’ve made with the 2 off days, they should be able to hang around with this Sixers team.
Projected Starting Lineups
-G Jrue Holiday (14.3 ppg, 7.2 apg, 1.9 spg, 16.34 PER)
-G Evan Turner (8.5 ppg, 2.1 apg, .000 3P%, 8.09 PER)
-F Andres Nocioni (9.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.6 bpg, 13.18 PER)
-F Elton Brand (16.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 21.71 PER)
-C Spencer Hawes (5.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.9 bpg, 11.00 PER)
Key Reserves: Louis Williams, Thaddeus Young, Jodie Meeks, Tony Battie, Marreese Speights
Injuries: Andre Iguodala (out)
-G Ramon Sessions (11.9 ppg, 3.7 apg, 0.4 spg, 12.90 PER)
-G Anthony Parker (8.7 ppg, 2.7 apg, .524 3P%, 8.82 PER)
-F Jamario Moon (5.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.1 apg, 9.35 PER)
-F JJ Hickson (16.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.3 bpg, 17.19 PER)
-C Ryan Hollins (7.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.6 bpg, 22.19 PER)
Key Reserves: Daniel Gibson, Antawn Jamison, Jawad Williams, Leon Powe
Team Efficiency Stats
-Off (99.8 ppg, .467 FG%, 40.1 rpg, 22.2 apg, 15.6 TOpg, Eff-101.7, Rank-21)
-Def (103.4 ppg, .452 FG%, 43.4 rpg, Eff-104.5, Rank-17)
-Off (95.9 ppg, .447 FG%, 39.1 rpg, 20.0 apg, 13.8 TOpg, Eff-100.7, Rank-26)
-Def (99.8 ppg, .464 FG%, 42.1 rpg, Eff-105.8, Rank-23)
- Cleveland 123 at Philadelphia 116 – 11/05/10 [box]
- Tue, Dec 7 at Philadelphia
- Sun, Feb 27 at Cleveland
In theory this should be another high scoring, fast paced affair between these two teams. Both teams are poor offensive rebounding teams and both teams are extremely poor at transition defense. The Cavaliers have been steadily improving in limiting their turnovers, but the Sixers are still struggling with giving up the ball, which is a big part of why they give up so many fast break points per game.
The Cavaliers aren’t exactly a high flying team (18th in the NBA in pace factor and 23rd in the NBA in fast break points per game), but in the 5 games they have forced at least 14 turnovers, they’re 3-2 and have scored 100+ points in all but one of those games. On the converse side, in the 4 games they’ve failed to force 14 turnovers, they are just 1-3 and have only scored 100+ points in one of those games (and that game was a loss).
The Sixers are also still quite susceptible to big point swings in both directions. Their average largest deficit per game is an alarming 15.8 points, but yet their average point differential is just (-3.6). That point margin is even better than Cleveland’s (-3.9), and it shows that the Sixers tend to dig themselves into huge holes and then climb their way out. That’s exactly what happened the first time these teams met, when Cleveland jumped out to a 19 point lead before turning that surplus into an eventual 8 point deficit. It took a strong 20-10 from Andy plus an unforgettable 4th quarter from Daniel Gibson to eventually get the lead back and seal the win, but without Mo and Andy’s services (presumably) this time around, the Cavaliers simply cannot afford to fall behind like that again.
Elton Brand is continuing his superb comeback season and will once again be a handful for JJ. Last time, I thought the Cavs would use Varejao on Brand a lot, but they really only switched Andy on him a handful of times. For the most part, it was Hickson defending Brand, and while Elton did manage to score 20 points, Hickson managed to limit him to just 2 rebounds. Without Andy around, JJ must make sure he boxes out Brand once again.
While Evan Turner may be excited about returning to Ohio, and this time in the starting lineup, he’s not exactly finding his niche just yet. With Iguodala sidelined, it leaves a bit of a gap in the Sixers backcourt. Jodie Meeks, a 2nd round pick last year by the Bucks, has had a couple good games for the Sixers off the bench, but the primary responsibility for replacing Iggy’s production will fall with Louis Williams and Thaddeus Young.
For the Cavaliers, they really need several things to happen in addition to just forcing turnovers and the usual rebounding issues. They will need someone to step up and have a monster offensive game in Mo’s absence, and to do that they need to be aggressive attacking the paint on offense. The Sixers are extremely foul prone on defense, and if you’re aggressive with them, you can rack up the free points at the stripe. Finally, they will once again have to lean on the bench to outperform the Sixers’ bench by a wide margin.
The Cavs probably won’t play any “must win” games this season, but this should be looked at as a “really, really, really, REALLY want to win” game, because if the Cavaliers drop to 4-6 before this upcoming stretch, they could easily find themselves 7-11 or even 6-12 by the time Miami leaves town on December 2nd.
From The Outside Looking In
Birds Of A Feather
Next Game For The Cavaliers
Friday, November 19, 2010
8:00 PM EST
Cleveland Cavaliers at New Orleans Hornets