Philadelphia 76ers Gameday Report presented by NJM: 76ers host Cavaliers in group play finale

76ers Host Cavs as NBA In-Season Tournament Standings Take Shape | Gameday Report 14/82

The 76ers (10-3) return home for their final group play matchup of the NBA In-Season Tournament, meeting the Cleveland Cavaliers (7-6) on Tuesday night.

The Sixers are 2-1 in the tournament, while Cleveland holds a 1-1 record.

“I think everybody understands the importance of trying to get through [to the Knockout Rounds],” 76ers Head Coach Nick Nurse said Friday after an IST win over the Hawks. “We put ourselves in the situation where we were done if we didn’t win. So, it doesn’t mean we’re going to go through now, but at least there’s some possibility. It’s going to be difficult because the team that’s 2-0 [Indiana], we lost to. Even if they drop one and we both end up 3-1, they’re going to get the nod. But hopefully we can sneak in. Hopefully they’ll drop two, or hopefully we can sneak in [as a wild card].”

The Pacers can clinch East Group A with a win in Atlanta on Tuesday night.

Joel Embiid (32 pts, 12 reb, 9 ast) and Tyrese Maxey (25 pts, 10 ast) led the 76ers to a 121-99 road victory over the Brooklyn Nets in their most recent game late Sunday afternoon. The Sixers tied a season-high with 16 threes (16-35, 45.7%).

This is the fastest the Sixers have reached 10 wins since also starting 10-3 during the 2011-12 campaign.

NBA IN-SEASON TOURNAMENT STANDINGS

The primary tiebreaker for the In-Season Tournament is head-to-head record in the group stage, hence Indiana’s clinching scenario with two games remaining. They defeated the Sixers, 132-126, in Philadelphia last Tuesday.

But with one wild card spot available in each conference, there is still another spot to play for even if the Pacers win Group A. The wild card will be the team with the best record in group play that finished second in its group. Point differential is the second tiebreaker, and the Sixers hold a +12 mark entering Tuesday.

There is a cash prize pool for players and coaches, with players on the winning team at the In-Season Tournament earning $500,000 each and various lesser payouts awarded to the next seven teams that qualified for the Knockout Rounds in the quest for the NBA Cup trophy.

OPPONENT OUTLOOK

Cleveland (7-6, 1-1 IST) will play both Philadelphia and Atlanta (next Tuesday) to finish group play. They’ve lost to the Pacers and defeated the Detroit Pistons thus far.

Like the Sixers, the Cavs also played Sunday, a 121-109 home win over the defending-champion Denver Nuggets. Darius Garland scored a game-high 26 points (10-16 fg, 2-4 3fg, 4-5 ft) and undrafted rookie Craig Porter Jr. delivered a career-high 21 points (7-10 fg, 7-7 ft) with four rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block in 25 minutes off the bench. Former 76er Georges Niang added 12 points (4-9 fg, 2-3 3fg, 2-2 ft).

Four-time NBA All-Star and reigning All-NBA Second Team selection Donovan Mitchell leads the Cavaliers in scoring (29.2 ppg) and steals (2.0 spg). Evan Mobley averages a team-high 10.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game to go with his 16.6-point average, and Garland averages 19.6 points and a team-leading 5.8 assists per contest.

Mitchell is out with a right hamstring strain.

SUNDAY’S KEY PERFORMANCES

Joel Embiid

  • Resting the entire fourth quarter for the fourth time in the team’s 13 games, Embiid posted a game-high 32 points (11-24 fg, 1-2 3fg, 9-10 ft), 12 rebounds, and season-high nine assists in 31 minutes of play in Brooklyn.
  • Embiid’s sixth 30-10 game of the young season broke a tie with Denver’s Nikola Jokić for the most such games in the NBA.

Tyrese Maxey

  • In 37 minutes of play, Maxey tallied 25 points (8-20 fg, 6-11 3fg, 3-3 ft) and a game-high 10 assists in 37 minutes.
  • Maxey is shooting 44.6% (45-for-101) from 3-point range this season, on nearly eight attempts per contest.

De’Anthony Melton

  • In 27 minutes against the Nets, Melton tacked on four more threes to give the Sixers’ starting backcourt 10 triples on the day. He finished with 21 points (8-10 fg, 4-6 3fg, 1-1 ft), five rebounds, and a game-high three steals.
  • Melton is shooting 44% from beyond the arc this season and 64% (16-for-25) from 3 over the past four games.

QUOTE TO NOTE

Joel Embiid on Nicolas Batum's return to the 76ers’ lineup...

"He's the key. He's special. The way we play, he just fits everything we need. Great shooter, great defender, great passer, great basketball IQ. He just fits everything we need."

FOLLOW ALONG

Tuesday’s contest is a 7:30 p.m. ET start in Philadelphia.

Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, TNT

Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic

UNIFORMS

Philadelphia will be in their navy blue city edition uniforms, while Cleveland wears their white association edition uniforms.

@SIXERS SOCIAL