Philadelphia 76ers Stat Monkey Brief: Sixers/Cavs (11/21/12)
Funny seeing you again
Feel like you just read this preview? That’s because the 76ers and Cavaliers are meeting for the second time in four days, this time in Cleveland. In the first go-round, the Sixers impressively limited guard Kyrie Irving to his worst game of the season, but that accomplishment seems less so after learning that Irving suffered a broken finger the night prior. Still, Philly harassed Cleveland into one of their worst shooting performances, 35.7 percent, of the season, well below their season average.
The Cavaliers' front court still managed to find success, as Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson both registered double-doubles and beat the Sixers up down low. The two combined for 13 offensive rebounds and contributed to their team’s 36 percent offensive rebound rate for the game. Sixers big men Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen and de-facto starter Kwame Brown will have to do a better job boxing those two out in this rematch - the three pulled down a total of only eight defensive rebounds on Sunday.
Points didn't come easily for either team in their first matchup. A lot of that had to do with how slowly the game was played - an 84.3 pace. Without Irving, the Cavaliers don't have an established ball-handler to control things for them. Seeing that, it could benefit the Sixers to break from their usual grind-it-out tactics and try to goad the Cavs into playing at a faster pace they might not have the personnel for.
Philadelphia could also use a bigger contribution from Thaddeus Young this go-round. The power forward was held to an offensive rating of 66 in the first game and shot 3-9 with a true shooting percentage (measuring shooting efficiency by taking into account twos, threes and free throws) of just 35.4. The Sixers shot only 12-30 in the paint in that game, an area where almost all of Young's offense comes from - 70 percent of his shot attempts, according to NBA.com's stats database. If Young ups his shooting performance and can knock down his patented lefty flip shots and turnarounds in the lane, the Sixers are in line for a much more efficient game.