Sunday, March 3, 2024
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NBA Preview: Philadelphia Sixers (31-21) at Cleveland Cavaliers (35-16)

The NBA’s hottest team will vie for its 10th consecutive win on Monday night when the Cleveland Cavaliers host the Philadelphia 76ers in a matchup of top-five clubs in the Eastern Conference.

Cleveland has won 17 of its last 18 games overall, with just two losses in 2024. Four of the Cavaliers’ last five wins have been decided by 16 points or more, including a 119-95 road victory over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.

Eight Cavaliers players scored in double figures against the Raptors, with Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley each recording double-doubles. Allen, who set a franchise record for consecutive double-doubles last month with 16, has a new streak of two heading into the 76ers’ visit after collecting 18 points and 15 rebounds at Toronto.

Allen had 14 points and 10 rebounds in the previous outing, a 118-95 rout in Brooklyn on Thursday. He also has at least one blocked shot in each of the past four games.

Mobley has a double-double in four of the last five games after posting 17 points and 11 rebounds on Saturday. He has played in seven of Cleveland’s last eight games since returning from a 22-game absence due to a left knee injury.

The Cavaliers also recently welcomed back Darius Garland from a 19-game absence because of a fractured jaw. Garland played 29 minutes on Saturday, his most time logged since rejoining the lineup, and finished with 11 points and eight assists.

Philadelphia is seeking back-to-back wins for the first time since completing a six-game winning streak on Jan. 22. In 10 games since, the 76ers are 2-8 with a pair of four-game skids – the most recent of which they snapped on Saturday with a 119-113 win at Washington.

Tyrese Maxey, who is headed to his first career All-Star Game, scored 28 points with nine rebounds and seven assists against the Wizards. Buddy Hield – acquired in a three-team trade involving Indiana and San Antonio – shot 4-of-9 from 3-point range en route to 23 points Saturday.

Hield has 43 points combined in his first two games with Philadelphia and has eight 3-pointers.

Ricky Council IV – another relatively new face in the 76ers’ lineup, as Philadelphia deals with the absence of reigning MVP Joel Embiid due to a knee injury – recorded career highs of 19 points and 10 rebounds on Saturday.

More changes to the Sixers’ lineup are coming, with veteran guard and Philadelphia native Kyle Lowry announcing on Saturday he is signing with the team after he agreed to a buyout with Charlotte.

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