Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#501 Philadelphia 76ers -7.5 vs.
#502 Cleveland Cavaliers 220
Wednesday, February 26, 2020 at 7:05pm EST
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland
Written by Chris Kubala

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Two Eastern Conference teams on opposite sides of the cut line in the playoff picture meet on the shores of Lake Erie. The Philadelphia 76ers are on the road as they make the trip to face the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night. Philadelphia earned a 129-112 home victory over Atlanta in their last contest Monday night in their last game. Cleveland rallied to down Miami 125-119 in overtime at home in their previous contest Monday night. The 76ers lead the all-time regular season series 109-103 and have taken the last five meetings. That includes a 141-94 home romp as a 10.5-point favorite on December 7, 2019.

Philadelphia 76ers Go for Season Sweep

Philadelphia bounced back from a road loss in Milwaukee as they rolled past the Hawks as an 8.5-point favorite. They’ve covered in their last three games as a favorite. The 76ers entered Tuesday third in the Atlantic Division, 6.5 games behind the Raptors. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team stands fifth, 13.5 games behind the top-seeded Bucks. Philadelphia led by 17 after one quarter and at the half before getting outscored 40-22 in the third quarter to trail by one entering the final stanza. That’s when Joel Embiid took over, outscoring the Hawks by himself 22-20. All told, Philadelphia used a 38-20 fourth quarter to earn the win. The 76ers shot 51.1 percent from the field, including 12 of 30 from three-point range, and drilled 27 of 30 free throw attempts. Embiid led the way with 49 points and 14 rebounds in the loss.

The 76ers are 22nd in the league in scoring offense as they put up an average of 108.9 points per game on the year. Philadelphia is 10th by collecting 45.7 rebounds per contest while the team is eighth by dishing out 25.8 assists per game. The 76ers are 3rd in the league in scoring defense as they allow 106.5 points per game this season. Joel Embiid leads Philadelphia with 23.8 points, 12 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game on the year. Tobias Harris puts up 19 points plus 6.8 boards a game, Ben Simmons adds 16.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 2.1 steals a night while Al Horford (11.6 points, 6.7 rebounds) along with Josh Richardson (14.2 points) are solid contributors on the offensive end. Furkan Korkmaz, Mike Scott, Matisse Thybulle, Glenn Robinson III, Alec Burks and Raul Neto are key reserves for Brett Brown’s group. Philadelphia is 10th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 46.4 percent from the field as a team on the year. The 76ers are tied for 21st in the league as they splash 10.9 triples a night while ranking 18th by shooting 35.2 percent from beyond the arc on the year. Simmons is dealing with a nerve impingement in his lower back and is expected to be re-evaluated in mid-March, though the team doesn’t expect him back in the near future.

Cleveland Cavaliers Look to Maintain Recent Momentum

Cleveland won for the third time in four games as they rallied to down the Heat at home Monday night in the back half of their home and home set. The Cavaliers have covered as the underdog in four of their last six games, winning three of them outright. Cleveland entered Tuesday in the basement of the Central Division, 33 games behind the Bucks for the division lead. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team stood tied for last, 11 games behind Orlando for the final playoff spot. Cleveland found themselves down eight after one quarter, by 12 at the half and by 19 after three quarters. The Cavaliers rallied to outscore Miami 31-12 in the fourth to force the extra session and used an 8-1 run over the final 1:45 to earn the win. Cleveland shot 43.9 percent from the floor, including 14 of 38 from three-point range, and won the rebounding battle 54-48. Kevin Porter Jr. led the team with 30 points and eight rebounds off the bench in the win.

The Cavaliers are 25th in the league in scoring this season with 106.6 points per game. Cleveland is 19th in rebounding with 44.5 caroms a night while the team stands 25th with 22.5 assists per contest. The Cavaliers are below average defensively, ranking tied for 24th in scoring defense by allowing 114.1 points per game. Kevin Love is second on the team with 17.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and three assists per contest this year. Collin Sexton (team-high 19.7 points), Tristan Thompson (12.2 points, 10.2 rebounds), Andre Drummond and Darius Garland (12.3 points) are scoring in double figures on the year. Larry Nance Jr. (9.7 points, 7.3 rebounds), Cedi Osman (10.9 points), Dante Exum and Kevin Porter Jr. are key pieces of the rotation for the Cavaliers. Cleveland is 21st in the league by shooting 45.5 percent from the field. The Cavaliers are tied for 19th in the league in made threes with 11.2 triples a night while ranking 21st in three-point shooting by shooting 34.9 percent from downtown.

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Cleveland has had success as the underdog lately but this one is going to be an uphill climb for them. Philadelphia has won the last five meetings and blew Cleveland out by 47 in the most recent meeting coming into this one. Even without Simmons, we saw the 76ers club the Hawks by double figures as Embiid had a career-high in points. Philadelphia is struggling on the road at times this season, going just 9-20 as the visiting team compared to 27-2 at home. However, one of those road wins came against Cleveland earlier this season. Give Philadelphia the upper hand here as they sweep the season series.

Prediction: Philadelphia 76ers -7.5

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Philadelphia put up a solid 129 points in their win over Atlanta as they exploited the league's worst scoring defense in that contest. The Cavaliers have had their defensive struggles as well, ranking dead last in field goal percentage defense (49 percent) and 27th in three-point field goal percentage defense (37.3 percent) this season. That should help boost Philadelphia's offensive output in this contest here. Cleveland has shown some signs of life offensively lately and that has been a breath of fresh air. This one edges over the total.

Prediction: Over 220
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.