Sixers-Cavaliers: 5 things you need to know

Sixers-Cavaliers: 5 things you need to know
November 9, 2013, 12:00 pm
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There won’t be many secrets for Saturday night’s matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second game of a home-and-home following the Sixers’ 94-79 victory on Friday (see story).

With tipoff set for 7:30 p.m. (CSN), here are a few things to keep an eye on:

1. MCW vs. Kyrie Irving, Part II
For whatever reason, Irving just can’t get it going against the Sixers. Though he went into Friday’s game averaging 18 points per game for the season, Irving scored just 10 points against the Sixers on 4-for-17 shooting. But that’s actually in line with his career numbers against the Sixers.

In five games in his three seasons against Philadelphia, Irving averages just 8.8 points per game and shoots 28.3 percent from the field -- by far his worst stats against any team.

Credit the play from rookie Michael Carter-Williams and backcourt mate, Tony Wroten, for keeping Irving and the Cavs’ guards in check at the Wells Fargo Center. In addition to Irving’s woeful shooting, Cavs guard Dion Waiters went 7 for 19 from the field.

And though Carter-Williams didn’t light it up (11 points on 4-for-13 shooting), he grabbed nine rebounds and dished out six assists. Wroten came off the bench to score a career-high 18 points in 26 minutes.

2. Turnovers
The Sixers committed 17 turnovers on Friday night, which is down slightly from the 19-plus turnovers the team averages per game. In fact, Sixers coach Brett Brown says 17 turnovers for the Sixers “is like six” for any other team.

It was the seven first-quarter turnovers that led to the Sixers’ early, 14-point deficit and the 44 combined turnovers against the Warriors and Wizards that were the impetus in the back-to-back losses.

No, it’s not a big secret -- turnovers cost deeply. Turnovers are especially crucial for a young team like the Sixers.

3. No Bynum
The stat sheet can be deceiving sometimes. Averaging just 5.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 13.8 minutes per game, it doesn’t appear as if the Cavaliers are getting much production from center Andrew Bynum.

But the numbers don’t really tell the whole story.

Bynum’s presence in the paint on defense is enough to cause issues and he still draws the rare double team on post ups on offense. Plus, Bynum is active on the glass and has a nice passing touch from the low block.

But because Bynum is not playing the second game of back-to-back, the floor will open up for the Sixers on Saturday night.

4. Where’s Varejao?
With Bynum watching from the bench, the Cavs will need a little more production from center Anderson Varejao. Actually, the Cavs need more from Varejao in general.

The big man had two points on 1-for-7 shooting with four rebounds in 32 minutes on Friday night and it’s tough to recall a moment he was on the floor. In fact, Varejao has not topped eight boards or 14 points in any of the six games so far. Against Charlotte on Nov. 1, Varejao did not score a basket in 29 minutes.

This comes after the big man averaged a double-double in the past two seasons, going for a career-best 14 and 14 in 25 games last season. However, injuries (a broken wrist in 2011-12 and a blood clot last year) have been significant.

5. This and that
• The Sixers lead the NBA with shots attempted inside of five feet and are next-to-last in the league in shoots from 20-to-24 feet.

• The Sixers have not committed a turnover during the final five minutes of the fourth quarter when the game is within five points. However, the Sixers are third in the NBA in total turnovers.

• Evan Turner is 14th in the NBA with an average of 22.2 points per game and tied for third in the league with center Dwight Howard for points in the paint with 68.

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