By Tommy Matthews
The Sixers bubble of winning without James Harden and Tyrese Maxey burst last night in Cleveland.
Early and with a mess.
Caris LeVert scored 22 points off the bench, Darius Garland had 21 points and nine assists and the Cavaliers routed the 76ers 113-85.
Donovan Mitchell added 18 points and six assists for Cleveland, which led by a season-high 33 points in the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers are 9-1 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, the third-best home mark in the NBA.
All-Star center Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 19 points, six rebounds and six assists, and Shake Milton scored 14 points. The 76ers had their three-game win streak snapped in the opener of a three-game trip.
Philadelphia’s starting backcourt of All-Star Harden and Maxey remains out with injuries. The 76ers had won five straight over Cleveland.
The Cavaliers played without All-Star center Jarrett Allen, who missed his third consecutive game with a low back bruise.
Cleveland shot a scorching 94.1% in the second quarter and scored 44 points, two shy of its franchise record, to carry a 69-48 advantage into the break. Mobley went 8 of 10 from the field in the first half, soundly outplaying Embiid.
Embiid missed a pair of technical free throws and was whistled for one of his own in his second game back after missing four straight with a sprained left mid-foot.
“The Cavs compete and they’re going to be tough for a long time,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “I think it helps that the clear stars are Donovan and Garland, so everyone else has to play their roles.”