Before Friday night, the Philadelphia 76ers were the only team in the league undefeated at home. The Sixers had won 20 games in a row on their home floor, dating back to a 10-game streak to wrap up last regular season.
The Sixers’ home win streak ended in a 121-112 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, though. With the loss, the Sixers’ four-game win streak was also broken.
As Philly comes off its first home loss since March 13, when it lost to the Indiana Pacers, here are three reasons why the Sixers fell short against the Cavs.
Allowed too many Cavs players to get open looks
The Sixers didn’t play with much energy on defense throughout the game, especially when it came to defending Cavaliers guards Rodney Hood and Collin Sexton.
Hood scored 25 points and Sexton scored 23, and they had strong support from Tristan Thompson, Jordan Clarkson and Cedi Osman, who all scored at least 15 points.
The Sixers allowed the Cavs to get into their shots with ease. When it came to defending in space, Philly didn’t do well as they gave Cleveland plenty of clean looks. Because of this, the Cavaliers shot 52.7 percent from the field and 50 percent from the 3-point line.
Along with that, the defense on screens wasn’t as aggressive as it needed to be. Here in the clip below, JJ Redick got beat on a backdoor screen and Osman scored easily off a pass from Larry Nance. Ben Simmons should have dropped back on the play, as Redick wasn’t going to be able to get through the screen.
The Sixers’ sluggish effort on defense was the primary reason for their loss, as the Cavs got plenty of open looks on offense.
Joel Embiid didn’t dominate in the post
Joel Embiid scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, but he wasn’t as dominant in the post as we’re used to seeing
Embiid took just three shots in the paint, and before Friday, 28.9 percent of his field goal attempts came from 0-3 feet away from the basket. Embiid made each shot he took inside, but the Cavs did a solid job of defending him in the post. They trapped him at times and didn’t let him get into his moves down low.
As the Sixers’ leading scorer, Embiid averaged 19.4 field goal attempts entering Friday’s game but attempted just 13 field goals in the loss.
Lack of energy and consistent tempo
The Sixers had a surge on the offensive end to finish the first half, but other than that, their performance on offense was mediocre at best.
Philly went on an 11-6 run to end the second quarter, as they increased their tempo and played with more energy on offense. But in the second half, they didn’t play aggressively on offense.
Though the Sixers shot 36.4 percent from the 3-point line in the game, they only made three shots from beyond the arc in the second half.
With the team’s offense revolving around Embiid, it was noticeably difficult for them to get anything going if 3-pointers weren’t falling.