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Sixers-Cavs Preview: The Return Of The Process

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The Philadelphia 76ers nearly knocked off the Cleveland Cavaliers three weeks ago - can Brett Brown’s squad knock off the best team in the East?

Cleveland Cavaliers v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The last time the Philadelphia 76ers played a basketball game, Joel Embiid was in street clothes, and the Sixers looked every bit like a 4-11 team that was missing its best player.

Pay little attention to the 105-89 final score: The Chicago Bulls routed the 76ers thanks in large part to a 33-17 third quarter. Let the record show that those 12 minutes of hideous basketball also marked the last time most people in the Philadelphia area caped up for one Jahlil Okafor. Given a chance to excel given Embiid's absence, the former Duke star chipped in just 10 points and six rebounds (and a -27) in 26 minutes of underwhelming basketball.

But fear not, true believers: "The Process" will be back in uniform this afternoon, so the 76ers should at least have a puncher's chance against the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers. After all, this same Sixers' team nearly knocked off this same Cavs' team just 22 days ago.

(Editor's note: Running the same play on two consecutive possessions still defies any sort of logic, and if Gerald Henderson is still puzzled at not getting that late foul call, then he's probably still wondering about those hanging chads back in 2000).

And, in the spirit of optimism, it should be noted that half of the Cavs' roster spent yesterday afternoon at the Horseshoe watching Ohio State knock off Michigan State in double overtime. Then again, this Cleveland team (sporting an Eastern Conference-best 12-2 record) is talented enough to hang out in Columbus, OH on a Saturday, and then drop 110 points against an NBA team less than 24 hours later.

In their last two games, the Cavs have made 41 (!!!) three-pointers, shooting a combined 51.9 percent from beyond the arc in victories over the Portland Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks. Gonna go out on a limb here and say that perimeter defense is going to be key for the Sixers this afternoon.

The fun starts at 1PM, boys and girls. Come for the basketball, stay for the beanie hats.