Sixers-Cavaliers: 5 things you need to know

Sixers-Cavaliers: 5 things you need to know
January 7, 2014, 12:15 pm
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The Sixers (12-22) look to regain their winning touch when they travel to face the Cleveland Cavaliers (11-23) in their second game of a back-to-back set.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (CSN) at Quicken Loans Arena.

Let’s take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Licking their wounds
So much for the Sixers appearing to turn the corner.

After finishing their six-game road trip with four consecutive wins, the Sixers were crushed in a 126-95 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in their return to the Wells Fargo Center on Monday night. The Sixers allowed 70 points in the first half and turned the ball over 23 times leading to 30 points in the defeat.

“That’s not us. That’s not who we are and a reflection of the improvement we have made,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said (see story).

Now, the Sixers get right back to work against a Cavaliers team that has lost eight of its last 10 games and whose roster is in a state of chance.

It’s uncertain if All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving will be in the lineup after missing the last three games with a knee injury or if Luol Deng will play after being acquired from the Bulls for Andrew Bynum and draft picks late Monday night (see story).

2. Old habits die hard
The Sixers’ lackluster defense reared its ugly head again on Monday.

After allowing teams to score 102.3 points and shoot 38.7 percent during their winning streak, the Sixers could not contain the Timberwolves at all. They allowed the T’wolves to score a season-high 126 points while shooting 46 percent from the field and a blistering 61.5 percent from three-point range.

The Sixers should find things a little easier against the Cavs. Cleveland ranks 25th in the NBA in scoring with 95.0 points per game and dead last in field goal percentage at 42.0 percent.

3. Stay Young
With the Sixers feeling wear heading into their fifth game in seven nights, they would be wise to keep feeding the red-hot Thaddeus Young.

Young scored a team-high 20 points in Monday’s loss to the Timberwolves. He has averaged 25.6 points on 55.9 percent shooting over the last eight games.

Young has also had success against the Cavaliers earlier this season. In two games against the Cavs, he’s totaled 45 points and 12 rebounds while shooting 19 of 30 (63.3 percent) from the field.

4. Injuries
Nerlens Noel (knee), Arnett Moultrie (ankle) and Jason Richardson (knee) are out.

Irving (knee), Deng (Achilles) and Jarrett Jack (back) are day to day for the Cavs.

5. This and that

• The Sixers have won nine of the last 11 against the Cavs.

• The two teams split a home-and-home series earlier in the season. The Sixers earned a 94-79 win at the Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 8 before suffering a 127-125 loss in double overtime at “The Q” the next night.

• Evan Turner totaled 53 points and 20 rebounds in those two games against the Cavs. 

• Despite having quality guards in Iriving and Dion Waiters, the Cavaliers rank last in the league in assists with 18.8 per game.