The Sixers (32-23) hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers (36-18) on Friday. Philadelphia wanted to snap a two-game losing streak. Cleveland wanted to rebound from Thursday's loss to the Orlando Magic. A total team effort carried the Sixers to a massive rebound win on the second night of a back-to-back, 104-97.

Before we get to the game, some notes.

Contextual Notes

The Cavaliers were without the services of Donovan Mitchell, who has an illness.

Tristan Thompson is serving a league suspension and was not available.

Ty Jerome is recovering from surgery on his right ankle and was out.

Emoni Bates, Isaiah Mobley, and Pete Nance are on two-way assignments with Cleveland's G League affiliate and were not available.

JB Bickerstaff started Darius Garland, Max Strus, Isaac Okoro, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen.

The Sixers were without the services of Joel Embiid, who is recovering from a procedure on the meniscus in his left knee.

Kyle Lowry missed the second night of the back-to-back as he reconditions for a return to competition.

Robert Covington has a bone bruise in his left knee and remained out.

Nick Nurse started Tyrese Maxey, Buddy Hield, Nico Batum, Tobias Harris, and Paul Reed.


- The Center desperately needed some energy from the locals after Thursday's takeover by Knicks fans, and Oubre made sure to inject some life into the building promptly in this one. On Philadelphia's first possession of the game, he attacked the rim after a feed on a cut and ruthlessly stuffed Allen at the hoop to ignite the building. Six minutes later, he ran ahead of the pack off of a Cleveland miss and skied for another thunderous slam in transition to invigorate those in attendance. Comparing Knicks fans to Cavaliers fans surely isn't apples to apples, but good to hear the Philadelphia faithful show up on Friday.

- You felt real urgency from Philadelphia in the first half. Coming off an embarrassing showing that dug a 26-point deficit in the first half on Thursday, the Sixers did the little things necessary to get stops. Cleveland sure likes to drive right (no, like, I don't remember a single lefty drive in the first half), and the Sixers preyed on that tendency. Whoever was defending off the ball one pass away got their hands on the rock as the driver pressed by, jarring it loose on the dribble to give the Sixers transition opportunities.

The physicality and attention to detail wasn't limited to the driving lanes. Philadelphia did its damnedest to keep at least one body on Mobley and Allen at all times, even leaving shooters open if it meant covering for the teammates assigned to Cleveland's bigs. The result was a number of passes around the paint tipped away, sparking more transition offense for the Sixers.

- Win or lose, the Sixers put their best foot forward - which is to say they did not let the Cavaliers embarrass them on the glass in the first half of this game. The effort was much better. Not a ton could be done on the offensive glass due to pure physical mismatches, although Hield swooped in out of nowhere to steal another play for the Sixers' offense on one possession. But, everyone cleaned up on the defensive glass.

Reed led the way with total rebounds through the first 24 minutes. But, KJ Martin and Harris had good feel for how the ball was coming off the rim and helped secure stops by getting to where it was falling before anyone else could get there. Mo Bamba was stronger with the ball than usual, too, making sure to tighten his grip when white jerseys swarmed him looking to jar it loose for steals right under their own basket.

- Speaking of Bamba, a very admirable defensive effort from him in this one. He made a couple of great rotations to the basket for blocks at the last second. Wasn't just guards hunting the rim off the drive, either. He got Mobley and Allen, as well.

- Finally, a chance to make a Cam Payne pun! This game would've been particularly ~ payneful ~ had it not been for the guard who came to Philadelphia in the Patrick Beverley trade. Payne lit Cleveland up for 13 points in the first half, lacing a handful of triples from the right wing and getting the friendly roll on a few shots in the paint. Cleveland buried a triple to take a five-point lead in the second quarter and, as bad as the Sixers' offense has been in the last 14 games, threatened to take control. But, Payne evened things up quickly. True microwave scorer stuff.

- Harris patiently waited for the mismatch to come via switches and attacked, aggressively pushing the basket and welcoming the help so that he could take contact at the rim. He was also much more resilient and forceful in the face of contact, finishing at the rim with control and sticking with the play until the officials had no choice but to reward him with trips to the line. Harris didn't just stand around and watch until the ball made its way to him, either. He made himself available to teammates all over the floor, flashing to the basket at the right times and dunking home two points off of the cut.


- I got nothing. The Sixers corrected a lot of mistakes that killed them 24 hours ago, and put forth a much better effort all over the floor. They were more short-handed than the injury report suggested, as Batum was available but did not play at all and Kenny Lofton Jr. and Terq Smith were on two-way assignments with the Delaware Blue Coats. Nonetheless, they battled all night long and did just enough after the fatigue of a back-to-back kicked in to get a much-needed win.

The Sixers (33-23) will host the Milwaukee Bucks (35-21) on Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m., Eastern time. You can catch the action on ABC.

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