Sixers 106, Cavaliers 99: It wasn't pretty, but Sixers take care of business vs. Cavs

Sixers 106, Cavaliers 99: It wasn't pretty, but Sixers take care of business vs. Cavs


Well, a win is a win.

It sure wasn't pretty, but the Sixers took care of business in a 106-99 win over the lowly Cavaliers on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Cleveland, fresh off a big win over Toronto, was missing Kevin Love (rest) and Marquese Chriss (suspension). The Sixers were without Jimmy Butler (rest).

The victory moves the Sixers to 43-25 on the season and keeps them ahead of the Pacers and Celtics for the Eastern Conference's third seed.

Here are observations from the win.

• What a weird start to this game. The Sixers were sloppy early, turning the ball over nine times in the first quarter … but they held a 24-12 lead after one.

Unfortunately, the lackadaisical play caught up to the Sixers as the Cavs flipped with the script with a 35-29 second quarter.

The Sixers dominated in every category but the turnover battle, which they lost, 21-7. It's the only reason this was even a game.

• These are the types of teams Ben Simmons feasts on and he did just that. It was good to see Simmons get back to being aggressive and looking for his own shot. He cashed in on a few difficult opportunities around the rim. He was physical at the basket and the Cavs had trouble matching that physicality.

At times, it felt like Simmons was the only one giving the Sixers any life. He finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and just two turnovers. He also continues to hit his free throws, going 7 for 10.

• That 33-point performance against the Pacers Sunday was incredible, but you can tell there’s still a little rust with Joel Embiid. He had four turnovers in the first quarter, six overall. Give some credit to Cleveland’s Ante Zizic, who was able to force a couple of those turnovers. It also looked like JJ Redick and Embiid were having trouble connecting in their normally lethal two-man game. Two dribble handoffs between the duo turned into turnovers.

You could tell Embiid was just trying to feel his way through this one offensively, recording 17 points on 6 of 16 shooting. But his defense sure is a big help as he came down with 19 rebounds and blocked four shots — including a huge one on Zizic with the Cavs trailing by just three with under a minute left.

 • The supposed “tournament” between James Ennis and Jonathon Simmons doesn’t appear like it’s very competitive at this point. Ennis got the start in place of Jimmy Butler and he shined.

He was matched up against rookie Collin Sexton, who is lightning quick and has given the Sixers trouble before. Ennis did pick up three fouls in the first quarter, but did a solid job on Sexton overall.

Offensively, his movement away from the basketball stuck out on Tuesday. When you’re surrounded by so much offensive talent, you’re going to get some easy looks. You just have to capitalize and Ennis did so, pouring in 12 points on 6 of 7 shooting.

He also continues to show off that "quiet athleticism" Brett Brown has referred to.

• Boban Marjanovic made his triumphant return to the court and looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. Marjanovic, who’s been out since Feb. 25, scored a bucket on his first touch. 

Best friends away from the court, Tobias Harris and Marjanovic have a real chemistry on it. Running a pick-and-roll is about timing and chemistry, and both players seem to have an idea of how to navigate it together.

Marjanovic was matched up against sharpshooting veteran Channing Frye. That’s not an ideal matchup for either player, but Marjanovic was able to get the better of it as Frye was cold from three and Cleveland felt the pain of not having a rim protector.

• Brown after practice Monday alluded to the fact that Redick may be getting a rest night soon. It looks like he may need it. Redick’s shooting woes continued, as he went 6 of 15, although he did go 4 of 7 from three. Coming into the game, Redick was shooting 31 percent from three and 30 percent overall since the All-Star break.

• The Cavs are terrible, but man, Collin Sexton can really play. The rookie point guard, coming off a 28-point performance against the Raptors Monday, scorched the Sixers for 26 points on 11 of 20 from the field. The Sixers have had trouble stopping quicker guards this year and Sexton gave them a hard time tonight.

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Sixers Talk Podcast: Brett Brown report; should players embrace being villains?

NBC Sports Philadelphia

Sixers Talk Podcast: Brett Brown report; should players embrace being villains?

On this episode of Sixers Talk, Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick react to the New York Daily News report saying Brett Brown has lost the locker room. How much of the report is believable?

The guys preview Game 3. Should the players embrace being villains?

Also, is it too early to regret trading Landry Shamet?

1:00 - NYDN story on Sixers dysfunction.
13:00 - Looking ahead to Game 3.
16:00 - Should Sixers embrace being villains?
21:00 - Paul's review of "Venom."
23:00 - Any regret trading Shamet?

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Sixers address report Brett Brown has 'lost' team

Sixers address report Brett Brown has 'lost' team

CAMDEN, N.J. — After dropping Game 1, a convincing Game 2 win over Brooklyn seemed to restore order for the Sixers.

Then a scathing article was published Tuesday night, saying that Brett Brown has lost his locker room.

If you want to read the whole story, you can do so. If you’d rather not, here’s a quick recap.

The story alleges that Brown lost his locker room after the Jimmy Butler trade. It talks about an incident involving Joel Embiid and former Sixer and Spur Bruce Bowen after Brown had brought Bowen in to address the team.

It also claims that GM Elton Brand approached ownership about possibly trading Ben Simmons ahead of the deadline. The biggest accusation is that Simmons missed a game in Orlando because he was partying the night before. He was listed as out with a stomach virus in the team’s loss to the Magic.

“I am aware of it. I have not read it and I won’t,” Brown said at the team’s practice facility Wednesday. “I have nothing to say about it.”

Some of the aspects have already been refuted. The alleged incident with Bowen supposedly happened in Portland, but Bowen did not address the team in Portland. It happened in San Antonio, and from the description of the Inquirer's Keith Pompey, it was much ado about nothing. The story also initially said Simmons was in Miami with his girlfriend, Kendall Jenner, but the publication already listed a correction on that, saying Simmons was actually in Orlando with no mention of Jenner.

It was also odd that it mentioned Simmons’ biggest issue with his shot is his refusal to bend his knees. If you’ve watched Simmons through his young career, you know that’s not the most glaring flaw. Simmons’ left elbow flares out on every shot, causing an odd rotation to the ball, leading to the conspiracy theory that he may be right-handed.

Simmons didn’t deny the report, but didn’t want to spend time addressing it.

“Are you talking about the regular season?” Simmons asked the reporter. “OK, no, we’re talking about playoffs, man. Unless you want to talk about something else, somewhere else, but it’s playoffs right now.”

As he walked away from his availability, he did add one more thing.

“It was me, Brett and Monty [Williams] partying.”

Sounds like a good time.

Another thing that seems odd is the timing. This story dropped two days after the team destroyed the Nets in Game 2. Who did the players credit for the team’s turnaround that led to a record-setting 51-point third quarter?

Their coach for chewing them out in the locker room at halftime.

“He expressed it. He called me out a few times where I messed up on plays and yelled at me,” Simmons said. “I love to see that side of him because it motivates me and gives me that energy. It’s great to see that side from Coach.”

Brown downplayed the impact and passed the credit on to his players.

“I think it’s one of the great myths of coaching to think that that’s what coaches do,” Brown said. “You’ve got about so many bullets a year. People that have been around NBA basketball understand that simply. It’s true. You pick and you choose your moments. It wasn’t anything, in my view, that dramatic …

“I think the thing I like most about this group is that they do let me coach them. There’s a togetherness and a locker room respect for one another that I appreciate.”

Several players — most notably the aforementioned Butler — talked about how much they enjoyed seeing that side of Brown. Evidently, it’s not a side he shows often.

But that’s a big part of why it had such an impact. The players knew their coach was not happy. Because he picks and chooses when to use his “bullets,” they have a legitimate effect. 

“Well, you want it to be authentic, too,” JJ Redick said. “That was the big difference for us, seeing that it was legitimate frustration and anger. Anybody can come in and scream and act like they’re mad, but Brett is an authentic guy. It was great to see him in that mode.”

Yeah, seems like we have a real mutiny on our hands.

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