Who’s going to stop James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers? The Cleveland Cavaliers will try to be the answer to the Sixers when these two teams lock horns in Philly this weekend.
Catch this game live on Saturday, March 5, at 8 AM, Manila time
Away: Cleveland Cavaliers (36-26/17-15 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Darius Garland
- SG: Isaac Okoro
- SF: :Lauri Markkanen
- PF: Evan Mobley
- C: Jarrett Allen
Cleveland suffered its fourth loss in five games Tuesday at the hands of the Charlotte Hornets at home to the tune of a 119-98 score. Perhaps a change in scenery would do the trick for the Cavs, whose last two losses have been at home. But they should be encouraged by the return of Darius Garland, who had a monster effort against Charlotte. Returning from a three-game absence due to injury, Garland fired 33 points on 13/22 shooting, including 5/10 from deep. Jarrett Allen had his customary double-double, with 198 points and 11 rebounds, but that’s mostly what the Cavs got beyond Garland’s production. Garland could build on that performance and have another great one versus the Sixers, who have already tasted the former Vanderbilt’s wrath, albeit in a 103-93 road loss back in February. In that game, Garland dropped 27 points (11/23 FG). Apart from Garland and Allen, Lauri Markkanen is someone the Cavs are hoping would show up this Saturday. The Finnish stretch-four, who was not around in the first meeting with the Sixers this season, is coming off a salty 3/10 shooting for 12 points against Charlotte.
Home: Philadelphia 76ers (38-23/17-13 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Tyrese Maxey
- SG: James Harden
- SF: Matisse Thybulle
- PF: Tobias Harris
- C: Joel Embiid
The Sixers are still undefeated since acquiring James Harden from the Brooklyn Nets. And with the way they are playing with the former MVP on the lineup, the Sixers have looked like a much bigger threat to the rest of the NBA than they had ever been over the past few seasons prior to Harden’s arrival. In three games with Harden, Philadelphia has averaged 127.0 points on 50.6 FG%. Overall this season, Philly is 19th in the NBA with 59% of their field goals coming off assists. Since Harden took over the majority of the playmaking? The Sixers have posted a 68.9 FGM% AST. It’s a small sample size, but really looks sustainable because the tandem of Harden and Joel Embiid is so obviously capable of wreaking havoc. Then there’s also the seeming elevation of play from Tyrese Maxey, whose full potential is starting to get unlocked by simply running alongside Harden. This is a scary Sixers team that Cleveland will have all sorts of headaches trying to stop, especially with the current form of the Cavs’ defense. The Cavs have allowed 123.0 points on 52.6 FG% to their last two opponents.
Spread: This game could easily look like an open season for the Sixers’ offense with Harden running the show. Taking the Sixers (-7.5).
Over/Under: The Sixers are going to get their buckets in this game. Even a subpar offensive showing from the Cavs could be enough for the total to hit the (219.5).