While the records of Cleveland and Philadelphia set the two teams miles apart, both teams are in pretty rough shape coming into Monday's matchup.
The Cavaliers are losers of four of their last five games, including a 109-90 loss against the Dallas Mavericks Sunday, and have been hit pretty hard by the injury bug. Irving left the Mavs game with tightness in his back, and the team immediately ruled him out for Monday's game. Cleveland is already dealing with the absence of LeBron James, who will miss his fifth straight game in Philly, and will be without Anderson Varejao for the rest of the season. Head coach David Blatt has gone far down his bench looking for help, as even former Sixer great Lou Amundson saw four minutes of action last night. Expect Philadelphia native Dion Waiters to start alongside Matthew Dellavedova in the backcourt, and Mike Miller to continue to start in the place of James. Kevin Love will likely do the heavy lifting on the offensive end as he did in Dallas, scoring 30 points on 11 of 21 made shots.
On the other hand, the Sixers returned home weary from their five-game west coast road trip. Philadelphia dropped all five games, with the lowest margin of difference being 17 points. The slaughtering ended Saturday at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers, a game Michael Carter-Williams sat out because of a right shoulder injury. Yes, that would be the same shoulder he had surgery to repair over the summer, but his absence seemed more precautionary than anything else. He is expected to return to the starting lineup against the Cavaliers. The same cannot be said for shooting guard Hollis Thompson, who has missed six straight games with an upper respiratory infection. His status for Monday night is unknown.
K.J. McDaniels has started the past two games in the absence of Thompson, as Brett Brown continues to tinker with the starting five. The former Clemson standout was just 4 of 18 from the floor against the Clippers and Phoenix Suns. Forward Robert Covington has also become a mainstay in the starting lineup, large in part to his three-point shooting ability. He's currently averaging 12.1 points per game on 43.5% shooting from beyond the arc.
The Sixers and Cavaliers get underway at 7:00 PM from the Wells Fargo Center. You can watch the game on Comcast SportsNet, or listen to it on the radio at 97.5 The Fanatic.