76ers Cavaliers Basketball

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Brandon Knight (20) drives past Philadelphia 76ers' Matisse Thybulle (22) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND — James Ennis and the Philadelphia 76ers bench took control of Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers midway through the first quarter and the visitors piled on en route to a 114-95 win.

Ennis and Furkan Korkmaz checked in with 6:59 remaining in the first quarter and the Cavaliers leading 14-13. Ennis quickly hit a pair of 3-pointers to give the Sixers a 19-18 lead and they never trailed again.

Ennis scored eight points on 3 of 4 shooting in his first 4.5 minutes of gametime. Korkmaz and Trey Burke each added a bucket to help Philadelphia’s bench finish the quarter with 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting. Korkmaz and Ennis recorded a plus-12 and plus-10, respectively, in the opening frame.

The Cavaliers bench could not keep up. Kevin Porter Jr. Matthew Dellavedova, Ante ZIzic and Jordan Clarkson combined to shoot 1 for 4 from the field for a total of two points in their first stint. They also committed two turnovers.

Ennis’ second 3-pointer sparked a 27-8 Sixers run, which carried into the second quarter. They extended their lead to 60-31 and held a 68-44 advantage at halftime — a much different start than last Tuesday’s contest in Philadelphia when the Sixers edged Cleveland 98-97.

“We played a good team, first of all,” Cavaliers coach John Beilein said. “The 76ers were really good, but just one lapse at any time and all of a sudden [the deficit] is 10 and then it’s 20. Didn’t have any answers for that. Didn’t get good enough shots on offense.”

Tobias Harris’ 27 points led all scorers. Korkmaz added 15 for Philadelphia and both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons finished with 14.

Collin Sexton scored a Cavaliers-high 17 points. Jordan Clarkson had 15, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson contributed 12 apiece and rookie Darius Garland totaled 11.

PICKED APART

The Sixers have four starters listed at 6-foot-8 or taller, including two 6-9 players and the 7-0 Embiid. The Cavaliers starting five features two players who are at least 6-8, with Thompson standing tall at 6-9. They also have two 6-1 guards in Sexton and Garland.

When Philly began to take advantage of its size, the Cavaliers had no answer. 

The visitors dumped the ball in the post to Harris, Simmons, Embiid or Al Horford — whoever had the mismatch — possession after possession. Simmons and Harris shot over the likes of Garland and Sexton, and if a defender came to help, they kicked it out to an open shooter.

Philadelphia shot 66.7 percent from the field in its 68-point first half as a result, including 54.5 percent from three. 

“Their size really bothered us,” Beilein said. “... As coaches and as a team, we have to continue to look at this one. This isn’t just a tough loss like it was in Philly where we competed. We got blown out in our own arena on a Sunday afternoon in front of a great crowd. It measures you a little bit and we gotta bounce back from it and find a way to make the changes in everything we do — effort areas, defense, offense, rotations, everything.”

SOLID START

Before Philadelphia caught fire toward the end of the first quarter, the Cavaliers kept things close. They used an early 12-2 run to turn a 7-2 deficit into a 14-9 lead. Garland played a big role.

He converted an old-fashioned 3-point play after drawing a foul on Josh Richardson, then sized up Harris and splashed a triple roughly one minute later.

The Cavaliers continued to attack Harris during the early minutes. Their pick-and-roll strategy forced other opponents to help and Thompson took advantage with two easy dunks.

Harris and the Sixers successfully defended a Love and Thompson pick and roll at one point, and the Cavaliers immediately tried again with Garland and Love and created an open shot.

SPECIAL MOMENT

The Cavaliers inducted its inaugural Wall of Honor class during halftime.

The inductees included John Johnson, the franchise’s first-ever draft pick; John ‘Hot Rod’ Williams; Wayne Embry, a two-time NBA Executive of the Year and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer; Bill Fitch, the team’s first head coach, the 1976 NBA Coach of the Year and a 2019 Hall of Fame inductee; and Nick Mileti, the founder and first owner of the Cavaliers.

Mileti was presented with a 2016 NBA Finals ring to close out the ceremony.

UP NEXT

• The Cavaliers will visit the struggling New York Knicks on Monday.

• The Sixers will take on the Knicks two nights later in Philadelphia.

 

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