CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (2-7)
at PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (5-4)
Tip-off: Sunday, 6:05 p.m. ET
Line: Philadelphia -6.5, Total: 192
The Cavaliers know they will have to play much better defense if they are to stop their five-game losing skid Sunday in Philadelphia.
Cleveland has given up 107.2 PPG on 52% FG during the five-game skid (1-4 ATS), surrendering more than 100 points in each game. However, the 76ers are averaging just 89.2 PPG this season (2nd-fewest in NBA) including 88.6 PPG at home where they are just 2-3 (SU and ATS). Cavs star point guard Kyrie Irving suffered a contusion on his left index finger in Saturday's loss to Dallas, but he is expected to start on Sunday night.
Can the Cavs end their long losing skid on Sunday? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. This season, the experts are a collective 57-46-8 ATS (55%) in NBA Best Bets. StatFox Scott is 11-2 ATS (85%) Best Bets in his past nine days, putting him 65% ATS (15-8) Best Bets for the season. StatFox Brian is 59% ATS (16-11-3) for the season, with seven straight days of going .500 or better, while StatFox Gary's 2-0 ATS mark on Saturday puts him at 58% ATS (7-5-2) Best Bets for the season. For NBA Totals, StatFox Scott is 7-1 in the past seven days, boosting his incredible season mark to 20-6 (77%) on NBA Totals.
Cleveland's offense has been carried by Irving, who is averaging 24.4 PPG (5th in NBA) on 48% FG. He's scored 60 points in his past two games, pouring in 26 points in Saturday's 103-95 loss to Dallas. However, the point guard is not running the offense as efficiently as he can, amassing just 21 assists and 18 turnovers over his past four games, including zero assists on Saturday. But for the Cavs to win, the rest of the starters have to shoot the ball better than they did against Dallas (22-for-60 FG, 36.7%). C Anderson Varejao (2-for-11 FG) and SG Dion Waiters (4-of-16 FG) were the two biggest brick-laying culprits, but Varejao has been a monster on the glass (12.9 RPG, 3rd in NBA) this season. He will likely dominate the boards again facing a 76ers team allowing 43.9 RPG (23rd in NBA), showing just how much they miss C Andrew Bynum, who is still out of action with a knee injury.
Philadelphia is shooting a dreadful 37.7% FG in its five home games this season, but had its best offensive showing at home on Friday, scoring 99 points on 46% FG in a six-point win over Utah. The backcourt of Jrue Holiday and Jason Richardson combined for 46 points (17-of-33 FG, 7-of-11 threes), 14 rebounds and nine assists against the Jazz. The point guard Holiday is now averaging 19.1 PPG, 8.6 APG and 4.0 RPG for the season and could have the edge offensively against Irving, whose injury affects his shooting form. SF Thaddeus Young (12.8 PPG, 7.4 RPG) leads the team at 51% FG, but nobody else is shooting well at all. Richardson (11.8 PPG) is at 41% FG, and the other three players scoring at least nine points per game are all under 38% FG -- SF Dorell Wright (10.7 PPG on 33% FG), SF Evan Turner (10.7 PPG on 37% FG) and SG Nick Young (9.1 PPG on 34% FG). Despite the offensive woes, the Sixers allow just 91.3 PPG (3rd-best in NBA).