The Philadelphia 76ers have heard the Jekyll and Hyde analogy ad nauseam this season, with their pronounced home success serving as a stark contrast to their considerable road troubles.
The 76ers will look to snap a six-game road losing streak Wednesday when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers. Philadelphia has won 13 straight home games.
Joel Embiid scored a career-high 49 points and 14 rebounds in Philadelphia’s 129-112 win over Atlanta on Monday. The three-time All-Star shot 17 of 24 overall and 14 of 15 from the foul line, although Brown was quick to credit another aspect of Embiid’s game.
“I thought the thing that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet that he did as well as anything was that he handled the double teams,” coach Brett Brown said. “Whether he passed out of it because there was a crowd, whether he went quick because the double teams were coming and he didn’t get involved in that. I thought he handled the double teams really well.”
Embiid handled most everything well — save for a hand gesture that was caught on camera, and even that was met with a quick apology in the post-game interview.
“I said before the All-Star break I was going to have a different mindset, be aggressive,” Embiid said. “I said I was going to get back to having fun. Having fun comes in different forms. I don’t have to always be smiling and laughing. I can have fun just dominating the game.”
Embiid wasn’t having as much fun Saturday, as foul trouble and a poor shooting night (5 of 17) led to the 76ers dropping a 119-98 decision against Milwaukee. The setback marked the 20th loss in 29 road games for Philadelphia, which is 27-2 at home.
The Cavaliers have experienced troubles regardless of venue this season, however they enter Wednesday’s game having won three of their last four games.
Rookie swingman Kevin Porter Jr. scored a season-high 30 points as Cleveland overcame a 19-point deficit in the fourth quarter for a 125-119 overtime victory over Miami on Monday.
“You can play a perfect game, but if you don’t close at the end it doesn’t matter,” said Porter, who scored 15 of his points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“We’re extremely happy that were able to close this comeback because we came back a lot of times this season and we weren’t able to close a majority of them. This one was definitely meaningful for growth in our future.”
The future aside, the past hasn’t been too rosy for the Cavaliers against Philadelphia this season. They have lost all three encounters thus far, including a 141-94 loss on Dec. 7 that marked the 76ers’ highest scoring output of 2019-20.
Collin Sexton, who averages a team-best 19.7 points, had just 10 on 3-of-13 shooting in that game.
Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons scored a career-high-tying 34 points in that game, however the All-Star guard is expected to miss multiple contests with a back injury.
–Field Level Media