LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers outclass Philadelphia 76ers

By @saihoops on
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers
Nov 27, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) passes from the floor past Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. USA TODAY Sports / Bill Streicher

LeBron James tallied 30 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers (13-7) outclassed the young Philadelphia 76ers (11-8) at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday evening (Tuesday in Australia). The match was hyped as the first meeting between Sixers prodigy Ben Simmons and his idol, James. 

Though Simmons showed more flashes of a future NBA superstar with his stat line of 10 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals, the young Australian was overwhelmed by James, the 15-year NBA veteran. Joel Embiid, the other transformative talent on the Sixers roster, had 30 points and 11 rebounds, but could not stop the Cavs players from getting to the rim and scoring efficiently. 

The Cavs, now on an eight-game winning streak, shored up their perimeter defence by keeping the Sixers to 3/28 from the three-point line. Robert Covington, a .462 shooter from deep, went 0/9 from three-point territory and JJ Redick, another prolific shooter, was held to 1/4 from the outside. The young Sixers team had no answer to Cleveland's dominance on both ends of the floor. 

Prior to the game, Sixers coach Brett Brown urged his players to treat Cleveland's visit as an NBA championship game. "This is like NBA royalty. And you don't back away from it. You're not intimidated by it. You embrace it. I said a while ago, the group isn't coming here looking for autographs. We're here to win a game."

Dwyane Wade proves to be the difference maker

As aptly described by ESPN's Dave McMenamin, the pre-match storyline of LeBron James vs Ben Simmons quickly turned into Dwyane Wade vs Philadelphia’s bench. Wade, who poured in 15 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, was a +21 from the floor and ensured that Cleveland stayed in control throughout the game.

"The story of the game really became about Wade vs the 76ers' bench, however. And during a key sequence in the fourth quarter, it became about Wade and James vs. Joel Embiid. Wade blocked the shot of the Sixers center on one end, and James, matched up with him on the perimeter on the other end and calmly dropped in a 3-pointer over the 7-footer to put the Cavs up by 17 with 6:45 remaining in the game."

Despite Monday's loss, the Philadelphia 76ers are still on course to end their five-year playoff drought. They will now stay at home to host the Washington Wizards on Wednesday before travelling to Boston to face the Celtics on Thursday. The Cavs, meanwhile, will stay at home to host the Miami Heat on Tuesday.