These two defensive teams will meet for the third and final time season. It’s a marquee matchup out East, and definitely a good way to settle an even-split season series.

Catch the game tomorrow at 7:30 AM, Manila time.

HOME: Cleveland Cavaliers (44-27, 28-7 HOME)

Projected starting five:

  • Darius Garland
  • Donovan Mitchell
  • Isaac Okoro
  • Lamar Stevens
  • Evan Mobley

The Cavaliers are one of the best surprise teams this year for a reason. They are 4-1 in their last four games, and 7-1 in their last eight at home. As it has been all season long, they are number one in points allowed per game (106.7) and second in defensive rating.

Adding to that is their pair of weapons on offense. Donovan Mitchell (27.6 PPG) is having a great campaign, as well as his backcourt mate, Darius Garland (22.1 PPG), with both putting up career-highs in points. They are averaging 25.5 and 24.0 PPG in the two previous meetings with the Sixers, respectively. Garland is even shooting a blistering 63.3% from the floor while he’s at it.

Over at the frontcourt, though, is a question mark. Big man Jarrett Allen is day-to-day due to an eye injury, and his absence will put a ton of work on Evan Mobley and the Cavs’ bigs, who will be tasked to contain Joel Embiid. Mobley posting 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in the season series. Caris Levert, meanwhile, could be a significant factor as he has 13.5 PPG on 71.4% shooting in two games opposite Philly this season.

Cleveland is 19-6-1 ATS in its last 26 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.

AWAY: Philadelphia 76ers (45-22, 19-12 AWAY)

Projected starting five:

  • James Harden
  • Tyrese Maxey
  • Tobias Harris
  • PJ Tucker
  • Joel Embiid

Good, fine-tuned basketball is what the Sixers are brandishing as of late. They are riding a five-game winning streak where they have limited opponents to under 95 points twice while also exploding for 125.8 PPG and only committing 9.6 turnovers. 

As they roll along, the Joel Embiid show is also strong and consistent as ever. He’s at a league-leading 33.4 PPG on the season, and there’s even a small uptick in his last five outings – 37.0 points on 59.4% shooting alongside defensive numbers of 1.2 steals and 2.2 blocks. All that, plus the streak is strengthening his MVP campaign. It’s the rhythm he needs for tomorrow, given that he’s only scoring 24 points on a 40.5% clip in the season series.

Second and third options James Harden and Tyrese Maxey should be there to aid their big man. Harden had a double-double of 19 points and 12 assists in his previous game vs. the Cavs, while Maxey had 16. Tobias Harris, meanwhile, owes his team a big performance, or at least a serviceable appearance. He has eight points on a rough 33.3% shooting in two games against the Cavs this season.

The 76ers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.


Handicap: Trust the Cavs (+2) to keep winning at home. They’ve shown it all season.

Over/Under: The total hits the over (217.5).