Sixers look for consistency against improving Cavaliers

The Philadelphia 76ers will look for their second consecutive victory after three losses when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.

But they'll likely compete for the third straight game without All-Star Ben Simmons, who's recovering from a sprained right shoulder. Simmons hasn't officially been ruled out yet.

The Sixers fell in road games in Phoenix, Utah and Denver before scoring an eight-point home victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday. Reserve guard Shake Milton also has been out, which has caused head coach Brett Brown to alter his rotation.

It's an ongoing process.

"I wouldn't say anything is set," Brown said. "We're finding our way and we have different options. I think that the phrase that I like to use, 'horses for courses,' is based on who you're playing and who's playing well. I don't feel married to anything this early in the season. You just figure it out. I won't put a death spell on any of the players either. I feel open to playing the people that I think it's going to take to win that night."

The Sixers appeared to be cruising to an easy victory over the Hornets before allowing them to whittle the deficit to five in the final 30 seconds.

Consistency in all phases of the game has been an issue.

"Obviously, we were in some close and tough-fought games, but for us it's just about turning the next page and getting on to what's next and today was a good start to that," said Tobias Harris, who had 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists against the Hornets. "We just need to continue to progress after that."

The young Cavaliers are led by veteran Kevin Love, who is averaging 18.3 points and 13.4 rebounds per game. Love, a five-time All-Star, has registered six double-doubles through the first nine games.

Love guided the Cavaliers to a pair of road wins over the Washington Wizards and New York Knicks following a 2-5 start. Surprisingly, the Cavaliers can reach .500 with another road win, this time at Philadelphia.

Love produced 17 points and eight rebounds in the Cavaliers' 108-87 win over the Knicks. But the Cavaliers also were buoyed by the massive improvement of second-year guard Collin Sexton, who had a career-best 31 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including 5 of 8 from beyond the 3-point arc.

"I love the way he attacks the basket, but I think what's being underrated here is his growth from last year to this year on his defense," Cleveland coach John Beilein said of Sexton. "You can see he'll still make a mistake every now and then -- everybody does -- but for the most part, he's an athlete who should become a very good defender."

Forward-center Tristan Thompson has been stellar thus far while averaging career highs in points (16.4) and rebounds (11.3).

"Just relentless," Love said of Thompson. "He has his legs underneath him, he's fully healthy. He took the summer to really get right and I'm proud of how Tristan is doing. He's really becoming a vocal leader. He's taking everybody under his wing."

--Field Level Media
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