Sports

How 76ers leapfrogging Cavaliers might impact Raptors in playoffs

How 76ers leapfrogging Cavaliers might impact Raptors in playoffs

Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers talk after the game on March 1, 2018 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

Philadelphia entered Friday night's game just a half game behind Cleveland for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Rookie second-round pick Damyean Dotson had a career-high 30 points and Trey Burke added 17 as NY had one of the biggest one-game turnarounds in National Basketball Association history in a win over visiting Miami.

What he wasn't thrilled about was getting down so far in the first place. He's coming to Philly next year so I'm cheering for him. "He wants to be great", James said. But before the 76ers could even think, "We did this without Joel Embiid", the Cavaliers roared back to win the second half, 75-54.

"So, we're a prideful team and the only way we get back into the game was just kind of get scrappy and play a little bit more physical, make some shots".

"We dug ourselves in the hole, we are a prideful team, and the only way to get back in the game is to get scrappy", he said. G Jose Calderon (left hamstring) did not play.

The Cavaliers mounted a furious comeback in the third and fourth quarters.

While the Cavaliers prepare to wind down the 2017-18 season, one of their most exciting matchups of the year came just last night after the squad overcame a 17-point deficit with 7:35 remaining in the fourth quarter to defeat the Washington Wizards, 119-115, at The Q.

"We know what we are capable of". That could give either the 76ers or Cavs an easier second-round matchup with No. 2 seed Boston, should they advance to that round. "It is all about defense, and when we defend we can do some real good things offensively".

LeBron James' excellence is so taken for granted, he rarely gets a mention here, but 44 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists is impossible to ignore.

Not all went well, however.

Robert Covington added 11 points and Markelle Fultz had 10 for Philadelphia. James made the first, missed the second, and purposely missed and watched in frustration as Nance's tip missed.

All said, Philadelphia dropped 41 points in the first quarter to open up a 13-point lead. "I want them playing free".

Josh Hart had 20 points and 11 rebounds and Julius Randle added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who lost for the fourth time in the past five games. "We are playing well".

The Sixers, who already clinched their first playoff berth since 2012, won for the fifth straight game without Embiid.

James' fellow starter, Kevin Love, knocked down 4-6 (.667) shots from beyond the arc and finished with 16 points, six rebounds, three assists and one steal in 31 minutes against the Wizards. He and Simmons share the same agent [Rich Paul] and have developed a friendship.

"He's a student of the game".

Lue thought Simmons was the difference.

"This was big, beating a team like that without an All-Star", Simmons said.


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