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Sixers squeeze out win over Cavs

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It was ugly, but the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-99 on Tuesday night.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-99 at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night. Jimmy Butler missed the game due to rest. Boban Marjanovic made his return to the court after a six game absence.

The Sixers jumped off to a hot start, but the Cavaliers quickly brought it back to a close game. It was sloppy, with the Sixers racking up 21 turnovers and letting the Cavs stay in it until the very end. When they worked their way up to a ten point lead with around four minutes to play, they blew it in classic Sixers fashion, giving up 11 straight points and falling behind by one with just over two minutes to play.

Luckily for the Sixers, Joel Embiid is on their team. After the Sixers fell behind with time running out, he took over on both ends of the floor, including a huge block on Ante Zizic, his fourth of the game.

Ben Simmons nearly had a triple double, going for 26 points, ten rebounds, and eight assists. Embiid went for 17 points and 19 rebounds to go with his aforementioned four blocks. Simmons and Embiid also shared a shoulder bump after an alley-oop from the former to the latter, which was nice to see. You can check that out here:

J.J. Redick was the only other Sixers player to score more than 12 points, going for 17 on 6-15 shooting. He continues to struggle from the field, but his 4-7 from three was a good sign.

To me, there was one big winner and one big loser during tonight’s game.

Winner: Put-back dunks

It was a great night for anyone who loves dunks. James Ennis had arguably his best game as a Sixer. He was active cutting to the basket, and it led to great looks and a 6-7 night from the field. He had two huge dunks, including this vicious put-back:

On an ordinary night, this would’ve been the most ferocious dunk. It wasn’t though. Late in the fourth quarter, when the Sixers needed a bucket, Joel Embiid did this:

This was a big night for the art of dunking a basketball.

Loser: The fans

Other than the game being painful at times, there were a few disappointments during this one. Fans missed out on Frosties because of a ticky-tack lane violation on T.J. McConnell. And even more tragic was that the Sixers inability to put the game out of reach meant we didn’t get to see Zhaire Smith. His recall to the Sixers was the biggest storyline coming into the game, but we’ll have to wait another day to see him play his first NBA game.

This clearly wasn’t the Sixers’ best game, but a win is a win. An Indiana Pacers win keeps the Sixers tied for third (but holding the tiebreaker), and an off night for the Boston Celtics puts the Sixers up 1.5 games on the five seed.

Next up, the Sacramento Kings come to Philadelphia on Friday night.