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Sixers beat Cavs: Instant analysis

Dave Uram
December 16, 2018 - 6:10 pm

The 76ers snapped their two-game losing streak with a 128-105 win at the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, a team they’re supposed to beat and, quite frankly, blowout.

Ben Simmons was in tip-top form, recording his 15th career triple-double, a mark he reached with time remaining in the third quarter. Simmons become the youngest player in NBA history to record a 20-point triple-double without committing single a turnover. Jimmy Butler’s return was also evident, giving the Sixers a much needed boost. This isn’t a huge revelation, but it’s safe to say having all your tools will almost always lead to the best results possible.

Solid night of basketball aside, it remains evident Elton Brand needs to find another impactful player with that open roster spot created from the Butler trade. The Sixers are still one player, starter or reserve, away from being scary good. They should still be considered among the Eastern Conference elite, but added help could go a very long way.

Here’s instant analysis from the Sixers 20th victory of the season. 

Return of The Big 3

Every starter, in addition to Landry Shamet, finished in double figures scoring. This was able to happen because the “Big 3” was in full form as Butler returned from his two-game absence caused by a strained groin.

Simmons scored 22 points to go along with 14 assists, 11 rebound and no turnovers, which is probably the best stat of all. Butler scored 19 points on six-of-10 from the floor and four-of-five from three-point range. Embiid tallied a game-high 24 points, JJ Redick scored 14, Wilson Chandler 11 and Shamet 16 on six-of-eight overall and four-of-six from distance.

As mentioned earlier, it helps to have everyone available. 

Everything starts on defense

After losing to Indiana Friday, Embiid made a loud statement that the Sixers were looking to punch the Cavs in the mouth as a means of revenge for Cleveland’s upset victory at Wells Fargo Center on November 23. In the first quarter, it looked like that might not be the case, as the Cavaliers shot 58.3 percent from the floor and led the Sixers 36-29 after the first 12 minutes of action.

Following that, the Sixers outscored the Cavs 36-22 in the second quarter and 39-20 in the fourth. Brett Brown always prioritizes defense as the key to winning, and a lot of the Sixers success offensively came after solid play on the other end of the floor. Holding a team to 105 points, albeit the Cavs, is always a good thing. The 76ers had nine blocks to zero for the Cleveland and out rebounded the Cavaliers 48-33, allowing only six offensive board, which was a huge problem in their previous matchup. The Cavs missing Tristan Thompson was extremely evident. 

Good, professional victory 

Considering the Sixers were on a two-game losing streak, it appeared their woes might continue after the Cavs got off to a hot start. It says a lot about their maturity that they were able to put their rough first quarter behind them and dominate, for the most part, the rest of the way.

Since the Cavaliers aren’t that good, Sunday’s win won’t teach you much about this 76ers team, especially not as much as Monday night’s matchup in San Antonio or Saturday’s showdown with the Raptors in South Philadelphia. However, it’s clear your basketball team is able to respond to an opponent’s early jab.