Thu, 15 Apr 2021

76ers' bench could come in handy versus Cavaliers

Field Level Media
27 Feb 2021, 06:19 GMT+10

The Philadelphia 76ers will be searching for their 15th win in 17 games at home when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.

The Sixers improved to 14-2 on their home court when they dispatched the Dallas Mavericks 111-97 on Thursday. The home mark is the second best in the league, entering Friday's games, behind the Utah Jazz (15-2).

The maligned bench came through with 46 points to help propel the Sixers. Dwight Howard scored 14 of the bench points and gave All Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons some much-needed rest.

Tobias Harris suffered a right knee contusion and left after scoring six points in 22 minutes.

Heavy production from the bench may be necessary again if Harris is unable to play against the Cavaliers.

"I actually thought they turned the game around," Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said of the bench. "I thought our first unit defensively was phenomenal but was really sluggish offensively, and then I thought our second unit came in, kept playing defense, and then we got out, and we started scoring and transition. I actually thought their energy changed the game tonight."

Embiid scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds but shot 5 of 20. Howard came in, made 6 of 7 shots, had three blocks, played solid defense and added eight rebounds.

"He was awesome tonight and he did it against a small lineup, a big lineup," Rivers said of Howard. "He dominated the glass, man, when he plays like that and is focused like that, he's fantastic. This is one of the best games he's had for us and he's been good overall, but tonight, I thought he really stood out."

Shake Milton also had 10 points.

The Cavaliers will be looking for their third straight victory following wins over the Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets.

In the 112-96 victory over the Rockets on Wednesday, Jarrett Allen tied his career high with 26 points on 10-of-11 shooting. Allen, who matched his season high of 18 rebounds and also four blocked shots, continues to lead the league in shooting at 67.2 percent.

"At 22 years old, Jarrett is not near his potential ceiling -- and that's the part I'm most excited about," Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "He plays off his teammates well and he knows they're looking for him."

Collin Sexton also scored 23 points and Darius Garland had 11 points and 10 assists.

Sexton has been playing at an All-Star level this season as he's averaging a career-best 23.1 points per game and 48.7 percent shooting. He wasn't picked as an Eastern Conference reserve, however.

"I wasn't too disappointed, just the simple fact that I know what I've got to do," Sexton said. "I know I've got to get better. I know I have to improve and lead my team and help my team win games. It just showed me like, 'All right, we've still got work to do, we're not there yet.' Just roll with the punches and keep getting better every day.

"I can't sulk, I can't be upset about it. Things happen and things happen for a reason. That's why it's here in Cleveland next year."

It was the defensive side which also anchored the Cavaliers in their latest win as they held an opponent under 100 points for the first time since Feb. 1, a total of 11 games.

--Field Level Media

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