Sixers vs. Cavs Preview: How Fleeting is Life

Kyrie Irving, in All-Star Trim - Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The deadline is upon us, leaving us to reflect on a team that might disintegrate at any moment.

Perhaps never have the Sixers entered trade deadline season in a state of greater uncertainty. At least from a certain perspective. Only a couple hours from tip-off of the last game before Thursday's deadline, this is probably going to be the last time at least one of Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes suits up for the Sixers. For all the frustration those three--well, Hawes and particularly Turner--have caused, they are three of the four best players on the team, so think about how much worse things can get and how rapidly once the deadline comes.

The best and worst part about this is the Skunkworks-like secrecy in which Sam Hinkie works. Remember the draft--we had no idea the Jrue Holiday trade would happen, not even the faintest rumor, until it was already all but done, and the specifics of the deal were still unknown until well after the trade had happened and Nerlens Noel was off the board. Even Jake Fischer's report this morning doesn't give us anything to go out and hit the Trade Machine with--just the reassurance that Hinkie hasn't forsaken us and he's still working the phone. We know a trade is imminent, but we don't know who's going where, when, and for what.

The upshot of this is that the Sixers are going to be intact for one last...well, I was going to say "victory lap," but things haven't been swinging that way very often of late. The Sixers have lost by 40 twice since their last victory, and they've only won three games, by a total of eight points, since the end of their four-game win streak on January 6.

Cleveland is about where the Sixers were last season: well below .500, but still hanging around a playoff spot at the deadline. The Cavaliers are three games out with Detroit and New York still to jump with 29 games to go before they can catch Charlotte.

The big news for Cleveland of late, of course, is Kyrie Irving taking home MVP honors at the All-Star Game. His supporting cast has been thinned out a little by an injury to Anderson Varejao, leaving Tyler Zeller in charge of Spencer Hawes in the goofiest, whitest, jump shot-takingest center battle of the year.

Another note: Cleveland's got a couple pre-draft Liberty Ballers favorites in Anthony Bennett, whom Michael Levin loved, but who disgraced himself early on with only 13 points on 13.5 percent shooting in his first 10 NBA games. Bennett's come around somewhat since--last Tuesday he recorded his first career triple-double, and in his past nine games, he's averaged a shade below nine points and five rebounds in 21 minutes.

My pre-draft favorite, Sergey Karasev, has been even less impressive, and he'll unfortunately be spending this game in the D-League. Karasev hasn't played for Cleveland in a month.

Anyway, Kyrie vs. MCW should be pretty cool, so tune in for that, as well as a chance to say goodbye.

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