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Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Philadelphia 76ers Preview: We’re Going Streaking
- Updated: February 2, 2015
(Cleveland, OH) — The red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers look to extend their 10-game win streak on Monday at home against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Cavaliers are approaching the franchise record of 13 wins in a row.
Ever since the fateful bowling trip in LA back in January, the Cavs have been on a roll and look to be improving across the board. The team has only scored under 100 points in one game during the streak (99 against the Portland Trail Blazers) and has been clicking on the defensive end, keeping opponents to just over 42% during that same period.
The pieces are starting to come together for the Cavs as the team looks to finish strong before the All-Star break. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are in playoff form, Timofey Mozgov is everything the front office envisioned, Iman Shumpert is progressing well, and J.R. Smith has been as effective as he has been entertaining.
The team’s most recent win against the Minnesota Timberwolves was brimming with interesting story lines; the return of Kevin Love to Minnesota, Andrew Wiggins’ second attempt at revenge, and the old guard vs. new in the clash between LeBron James and the young Wiggins. The Wolves kept it close through three quarters, but LeBron decided the game was over to start the fourth and thus it was so.
“I just think LeBron recognized the moment, and knew that it was his time,” Coach David Blatt told reporters after the game. “He showed why he’s the best player in the game once again.”
The Cavs looked like they were struggling to get going, a by-product of playing four games in five nights. Wiggins took advantage, scoring 31 points in three quarters. The Cavs ramped up the defensive intensity in the fourth however, holding Wiggins to just two points and the Timberwolves to only 11 points in the quarter.
Blatt was impressed with his team’s focus and made sure to mention it after the win.
“We showed some maturity tonight, we showed great professionalism, and found a way to right ourselves, and win the game in a good fashion.”
Things are not so sunny in Philadelphia however, as the 76ers are far more concerned with their draft odds than their playoff odds. The 76ers have won two games in their last nine and are trotting out a lineup that caused many experts to question whether they could win a game against the college powerhouse Kentucky Wildcats earlier this season. The future is bright for this team, but the immediate future, not so much.
Keys to the Game
1. Don’t Play Down to the Competition
Earlier this season, the Cavs made it an unfortunate habit of playing down to their competition. Losses to the 76ers, Utah Jazz, and Milwaukee Bucks are perfect examples of this inconsistency. Recently however, the Cavs have been playing more consistently and with more energy, and a day off during Super Bowl Sunday should leave the team refreshed and ready to play.
2. Keep up the Pressure on Defense
Once considered a crippling weakness earlier in the season, the Cavaliers defense has made significant strides during the 10-game winning streak. Mozgov has been a roadblock in the paint, and even Kevin Love has been stepping up his defensive effort. If the team can replicate their recent defensive effort and focus, this game should be over in the first half.