Following a maddening three-game losing streak, the Philadelphia 76ers rebounded in a big way with a 30-point win over the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.
Now the Sixers will look for their second victory in as many days when they travel to face the host Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
It’s unclear if Joel Embiid or James Harden will play in the second leg of this back-to-back.
The Sixers (47-30) tied a franchise record with 21 made 3-pointers in Saturday’s 144-114 win over the Hornets.
Embiid led the way with 29 points, 14 rebounds and six assists, and Tobias Harris added 23 points.
Beyond the statistics, the Sixers controlled the tempo from the opening tip.
“I just thought all game, our pace was good,” Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought that’s what we put an emphasis on. We got the ball up the floor a lot earlier, a lot of advance passes, and then playing the second side of the floor. I thought in the first half, though we did play with great pace, we still played on like half the floor. I thought in the second half, we got the ball to the opposite side.”
Philadelphia has struggled in the third quarter far too often this season. Not on Saturday, outscoring the Hornets 45-27 in the period.
“A big emphasis for us was just coming out in the third quarter with a lot more energy and I thought we did that,” Harris said. “We were able to get out off our stops and get good looks. Just push the pace, that was key for us.”
The Cavaliers also will be searching for their second win in two days.
Cleveland (43-35) produced a balanced effort anchored by Darius Garland with 24 points and 13 assists in a 119-101 victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday.
Caris LeVert scored 19 points while Moses Brown added 16 points and 13 rebounds. Isaac Okoro contributed 16 points and Kevin Love chipped in 15.
But the Cavaliers are likely to be shorthanded again on Sunday without Jarrett Allen (finger) and Evan Mobley (ankle). Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he doesn’t expect either player to be on the court.
“I’m still hopeful,” Bickerstaff said of the two injured players coming back before the regular-season finale on April 10. “I don’t know when that game may be, but we’re hopeful that maybe one or two of the final games we’ll have both those guys back.”
Even without these two key players, the Cavaliers had little trouble dispatching the Knicks. It was an encouraging performance as the playoffs inch closer.
“I think we’re learning from our past,” Bickerstaff said. “I don’t think we played particularly well in Atlanta. I didn’t like the way that we played in Atlanta (a loss on Thursday). What this afternoon showed is that we can take steps and learn quickly. Before the game today in our meeting we watched clips of us at our best offensively and it wasn’t a lot of ball holding. It was a lot of movement, a lot of sharing, a lot of side to side. I thought we took that to heart and we were better.”
–Field Level Media