The NBA is a make-or-miss league, and when you miss 25 out of your 28 three-point attempts (as the Philadelphia 76ers did tonight), you're going to get steam-rolled by teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers (as the Philadelphia 76ers did tonight).
According to the box score, the Cavs defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 113-91, but it was a much closer game than that for most of the evening. A 16-point third-quarter outburst by Joel Embiid (30 points, 11 rebounds) help the Sixers cut the Cleveland lead to three with 3 minutes to go in the third quarter, but a 13-2 run keyed by the Cavs' reserves essentially ended any chance at a comeback.
Speaking of Cleveland's second unit... plus/minus can be a misleading stat, but it's telling that the four most prominent members of the Cavs' bench - Kyle Korver, Channing Frye, Dwyane Wade and Jeff Green - all finished the evening +21 or better. Cleveland's bench outscored the Sixers' subs 57 to 30, led by Wade's 15 points.
But while the Sixers may have shot horribly, and the Cavs' backups may have played exceptionally, we can't discuss tonight's game without reflecting on the brilliance of LeBron James.
Shortly after the opening tip, we were treated to what was essentially The LBJ Show. At one point in the first quarter, he had single-handedly outscored the entire Sixers' team 13-10, and put the Ben Simmons comparisons to bed for the foreseeable future. James finished the evening with 30/13/6 (in 31 minutes), while Simmons had a pedestrian line (for him) of 10/8/2/3.
The cherry on top of the Chick-Fil-A cookies-and-cream sundae is the fact that Ben Simmons checked himself out of the game midway through the fourth quarter after suffering a sprained ankle. It didn't seem too serious at the time, but we'll keep you posted.
The Sixers had their chances to make plays tonight (22 offensive rebounds!), but when they weren't blowing easy lay-ups, they were missing wide open three-pointers. It happens... charge this one to the game, folks. Let's just hope the team can shake this one off in time for Wednesday's game against the John Wall-less Washington Wizards.
- It took a while for Joel Embiid to realize that Kevin Love (who really can't guard him) and Channing Frye (who REALLY can't guard him) were tasked with defending him tonight. After setting for jumpers early on, Embiid went BBQ chicken on them in the third quarter. Would it have been a different game had he been more aggressive early? Who knows.
- The Cavs outscored the Sixers by 21 points when LeBron James was off of the floor. So there's that.
- Cavs' starters not named LeBron James shot 8-for-23.
- Amir Johnson was the first center off of the bench for the Sixers again tonight, and he didn't play poorly, all things considered (6 points, 5 boards). Dario Saric shot as bad as the rest of his mates, but hustled his way to 8 points and 10 rebounds (6 offensive).
- For some odd reason, the Philadelphia 76ers were favored heading into tonight's game. According to our interns, this is the first time the Sixers had ever been favored in a game against LeBron James. (Editor's note: We don't have any interns.)
- Tonight was the first time in 16 games that the Sixers didn't score 25 or more in the 1st quarter.