The Philadelphia 76ers aim to get back to winning ways when they travel to face the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers, live on Sky Sports Arena (Red Button) and Sky Sports Football at 8:30pm on Sunday.
The Sixers (19-11) have fallen to fifth place in the Eastern Conference having suffered surprising home losses to the Indiana Pacers and Brooklyn Nets in their last two outings.
Live NBA: Philadelphia @ Cleveland
Those defeats have come despite monstrous performances from star man Joel Embiid, who has been playing at MVP-level all season. The Cameroonian center had 40 points and 21 rebounds against the Pacers and 33 points and 17 rebounds against the Nets. Embiid has 15 games with at least 30 points and 15 rebounds. No other player in the league has more than eight.
The Cavaliers (7-22) sit 13th in the East and go into this game as underdogs. They have picked up three wins in their last eight games after earning just three wins in the whole of November, one of which was a 121-112 win on the road against the 76ers.
Their All-Star forward Kevin Love has not played since October 24, had toe surgery in early November, and is not expected to return to the Cavs’ line-up until January.
Sixers’ guard Jimmy Butler has missed their last two games with a groin problem.
Key Battle: Joel Embiid vs the stat sheet
Given his penchant for feuding with opposition centers, Embiid was probably looking forward to a showdown with Cavs’ center Tristan Thompson.
The bad news for ‘The Process’ is Thompson is out for two to four weeks with a sprained foot and will not be on the court to face him.
The worse news for the Cavaliers is they have no other players remotely capable of slowing down Embiid, let alone capable of stopping him. Expect another big game from the Philly franchise star.
Last time out
28.0 – That’s the number of free throw attempts the Sixers earn per game and it is the league’s highest figure. It’s also indicative of the number of Sixers’ players willing and able to attack the opposition basket.
Ben Simmons, Butler (if fit) and Embiid (who leads the league in individual free throw attempts) will use their athleticism and aggression to attack opposition interior defense and wreak havoc.
One to watch (Sixers): JJ Redick
The veteran sharpshooting guard supplies game-winning firepower from beyond the arc. Redick has previously lead the league in three-point shooting percentage (47.5 per cent in 2015-16) and, while his accuracy is way short of his best this campaign, he is averaging a career-high 18.3 points per game in what is his 13th year in the league.
One to watch (Cavaliers): Collin Sexton
One bright spot for Cleveland has been the play of rookie point Collin Sexton. Selected eighth in the 2018 Draft, Sexton has already shown the ability to score heavily and consistently at the NBA level and appears to be a foundation piece as the Cavs overhaul their roster in the post-LeBron James era.
Sunday night’s games
- Atlanta Hawks @ Brooklyn Nets, 8pm
- Philadelphia 76ers @ Cleveland Cavaliers, 8:30pm, live on Sky Sports Arena (Red Button) and Sky Sports Football
- New York Knicks @ Indiana Pacers, 10pm
- Los Angeles Lakers @ Washington Wizards, 11pm
- Sacramento Kings @ Dallas Mavericks, 12am
- Miami Heat @ New Orleans Pelicans, 12am
- Toronto Raptors @ Denver Nuggets, 1am
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