Cleveland Cavaliers vs Philadelphia 76ers 3/4/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Predictions

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Philadelphia 76ers Matchup Preview (3/4/22)

The Cleveland Cavaliers (36-26) travel to Wells Fargo Center to battle the Philadelphia 76ers (38-23) Friday night. The skidding Cavaliers are 1-4 in their last five games. Their identity is built on their defense, but they have struggled to stop opponents recently. They have the 4th Defensive Rating for the season, yet they are 27th in their last five games. The Cavaliers are coming off a disastrous 119-98 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. Darius Garland scored 33 points on 13/22 from the field, but the team struggled to produce points. Jarrett Allen played well with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block. The Cavaliers lost the turnover battle and couldn’t keep up with Charlotte’s shooting (50.6 FG%, 44.7 3PT%). Terry Rozier torched the Cavaliers for 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. Kelly Oubre Jr and Isaiah Thomas combined for 29 points off the bench. The Cavaliers will look to get back on track against the 76ers. Caris LeVert is out, but Rajon Rondo is a game time decision. If Rondo cannot play, Brandon Goodwin would be the clear backup point guard. 

The 76ers are 3-0 with James Harden and looking like a legitimate title threat. They have a 20.6 point average margin of victory across those three games. It’s a small sample, but they own the best Offensive Rating and 4th Defensive Rating with Harden on the team. The 76ers enter this contest after defeating the New York Knicks 123-108. The Knicks were up 7 points at the half, but they lost the 3rd quarter 38-19. James Harden had a near triple-double with 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists. Joel Embiid produced 27 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists on 7/15 from the field. Tyrese Maxey shined again with 25 points on 58.3 FG% and 66.7 3PT%. RJ Barett and Julius Randle combined for 54 points. Unfortunately, the rest of the Knicks could not penetrate this tough 76ers defense. Tobias Harris is a game time decision against the Cavaliers. If he cannot go, the 76ers could turn to Paul Millsap or Georges Niang. 

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Philadelphia 76ers Betting Odds

On February 12th, the 76ers beat the Cavaliers 103-93 in their only previous game. Joel Embiid absolutely scorched the Cavaliers for 40 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists on 50 FG%. Tyrese Maxey chipped in 16 points on 50 FG%. Darius Garland scored 27 for the Cavaliers, while Jarrett Allen added 13 points and 5 rebounds. In this rematch, I like the 76ers to convincingly defeat the Cavaliers. The 76ers look close to invincible currently, while the opposite is true of the Cavaliers. Caris LeVert’s injury is a huge blow as he could create his own offense off the dribble. Without LeVert, the offense will be too dependent on Garland’s scoring and facilitating. Entering the game with defensive woes is a bad sign when the opponent is James Harden and Joel Embiid. Overall, the 76ers have the momentum and talent edge. I do not expect an extremely high scoring game, but the 76ers can easily put up 120 here. However, the Cavaliers lackluster offense will drag down total scoring. Somewhere around 220-225 points seems reasonable. 

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TV Schedule

Date: 3/4/22
Time: 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Wells Fargo Center – Philadelphia, PA
Channel: NBA League Pass

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Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineup

PG: Darius Garland
SG: Isaac Okoro
SF: Lauri Markkanen
PF: Evan Mobley
C: Jarrett Allen

Cleveland Cavaliers Analysis

The Cavaliers need a monster game from Darius Garland. He’s averaging 20.5 PPG and 7.9 APG on the season with an efficient 48/38/89 shooting split. Garland usually leads the team in scoring while also orchestrating the offense. If the spot up shooters can hit their threes, the Cavaliers may have a chance to match the deadly 76ers offense. Lauri Markkanen is 7’0”, but he starts at small forward for the jumbo starting lineup. 52.5% of Markkanen’s shots are three pointers, so he is essentially a tall shooting guard. With Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen working in the paint, Lauri can stretch the floor and force the 76ers to account for him. Even if a defender is on Lauri, his height and wingspan allow him to release his shot without being bothered. 

The Cavaliers must also win the bench battle to stay afloat in this one. Kevin Love (14.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG) is volatile, going for 4 points in one game and then 26 in the following. An efficient showing from Love, especially from three, would put pressure on the relatively weak 76ers bench. Cedi Osman (11.1 PPG) can also penetrate the defense off the dribble and cut into a likely 76ers lead. Defensively, Isaac Okoro is the key for the Cavaliers. Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen are excellent paint defenders, but Embiid will produce no matter what. Stopping Harden from scoring and facilitating will hinder the 76ers offense. Okoro (6’5” 225 lbs) has the size to hang with Harden’s drives. The Cavaliers can put the smaller Garland on Tyrese Maxey and hide Markkanen on offensively-limited Matisse Thybulle. 

Philadelphia 76ers Starting Lineup

PG: James Harden
SG: Tyrese Maxey
SF: Matisse Thybulle
PF: Tobias Harris
C: Joel Embiid

Philadelphia 76ers Analysis

The 76ers are easily scoring on teams with Harden, Embiid, and Maxey. Those three are averaging a combined 84.6 PPG on 56.0 FG% and 51.0 3PT%. Maxey’s ability to handle the ball while also being a deadly spot up shooter (40.8 3PT%) allows the starting lineup versatility in its schemes. Embiid will command the attention of Mobley and Allen in the paint, so the 76ers can get good shots from the perimeter. The Cavaliers will likely hide Markkanen on Thybulle, so running picks with Thybulle as the screener will create mismatches. Markkanen cannot guard either Harden or Maxey in the slightest. Getting Markkanen to switch onto the 76ers guards will create great isolation opportunities. If the Cavaliers rush to help, the ball handler can hit the open man for a catch and shoot three. 

Defensively, the 76ers would benefit from putting Harden on Markkanen and Thybulle on Garland. Markkanen is a spot up threat who does not like to drive, so Harden can stick to him on the perimeter without worrying about a cut. Thybulle is an All-Defense caliber defender who will bother Garland. If Garland cannot run the offense, then the Cavaliers will be in shambles and unable to match the 76ers. Okoro is a relative non-factor on offense, so Maxey can shade towards the paint to help on Cavaliers drives.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Philadelphia 76ers Daily Fantasy Picks

I like Embiid, Harden, and Garland to live up to their hefty price tags. I’m not going to beat a dead horse, so all I will say is that Harden and Embiid are must-plays currently. Outside of them, I expect a big game from Garland. He’s the engine of the offense and a fantastic shooter. When you mix volume and accuracy, it breeds good fantasy results. Even with Thybulle on him, Garland’s volume will allow him to produce big numbers. A sleeper pick is Cavaliers reserve Kevin Love. In his last five games, he has 3 single digits games and 2 games over 20 points. He’s extremely risky, but I like his matchup here against Niang and Millsap. Look for Love to hit a few threes and score 16+ points. Love is also good for 5-7 rebounds as well. 

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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