Cleveland Cavaliers vs Philadelphia 76ers: Lineups, preview & prediction 4/6/18
Third place in the Eastern Conference is up for grabs Friday night when the Philadelphia 76ers host the Cleveland Cavaliers in a clash of surging teams.
At 48-30, the 76ers are enjoying their best season since racking up 56 wins in 2000/01, which was also the last time they reached the NBA Finals. Philadelphia stretched their winning streak to 12 games Tuesday night with a 115-108 triumph at Detroit, their longest run since reeling off 13 consecutive victories from December 22, 1984 to January 16, 1985.
J. J. Redick hit five of seven from 3-point range and finished with 25 points while Marco Belinelli added four treys and scored 19 off the bench. The 76ers shot 13 of 30 overall and improved to 4-0 since losing All-Star center Joel Embiid to a fractured orbital bone March 31 that was expected to sideline him at least two weeks.
Philadelphia are expected to have starting power forward Dario Saric back for this contest after he missed the last three games with cellulitis in his elbow. Ersan Ilyasova had been starting in his place and averaged 13.3 points and 9.0 rebounds.
Cleveland (49-30) remained one-half game ahead of Philadelphia for the No. 3 seed in the East by rallying for a 119-115 victory over Washington on Wednesday night for their fifth straight win. LeBron James finished one assist shy of a triple-double with 33 points and 14 rebounds, but it was his defense on Wizards point guard John Wall that helped spark a comeback from 17 down in the final 7:34.
Jeff Green added 21 points as the Cavaliers also extended their lead over the idle Indiana Pacers to one game for the Central Division lead with three remaining. Cleveland made 13 3-pointers for the second straight contest and are shooting 43 percent (58 for 135) from long range during their winning streak.