GRADES: Philadelphia 76ers 98, Cleveland Cavaliers 97

Joel Embiid | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joel Embiid | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers overcame poor shooting and a slew of second half turnovers to topple the pesky Cavaliers. In the return of Ben Simmons, a herky-jerky game came down until the final possession.

If your first thought is “how was this game so close?”, there are two reasons. First, this was a horrendous shooting night. The Philadelphia 76ers shot 21 percent from deep. Secondly, the Sixers had ten turnovers in the second half, after only four in the first half.

The Sixers led throughout much of the game until early in the fourth quarter. When it mattered most the Sixers buckled down and got stops. The Cavaliers’ final six possessions were: 0-for-4 with two turnovers. They earned their 97th point with just over 3:30 left in the game, and their total didn’t budge afterward.

On a night when Tristian Thompson makes as many threes as Furkan Korkmaz, you’re in for a goofy night. The final play was a SLOB  play that lead to Kevin Love pump-faking Ben Simmons into the upper deck, missing a wide-open triple from the top of the arc, and a loose ball that was recovered with no chance of a shot attempt.

The Sixers’ shooting woes were evident from early on. Until Joel Embiid hit his first three-pointer, the team was 0-for-8 from three. Josh Richardson and Tobias Harris combined for 1-for-19 from beyond the arc. That’s rock bottom for two players that are each career 36 percent three-point shooters. The Sixers have yet to prove to be a consistent three-point scoring team, but 21 percent is an unfortunate outlier. It happens.

A-. <strong>35 mins | 27 pts | 16 reb | 4 ast | 1 stl | 2 blk | 2 TO | 10-20 FG | 3-5 3PT| 4-5 FT | 2 PF | +1</strong><br />Joel Embiid had a strong all-around game. Not a soul on the Cleveland bench could stop him. Embiid was efficient offensively, and had a proper inside-out balance. The area that may have stood out the most was playmaking. Embiid was firing the ball into the far corner and threw darts to cutters near the rim. Two of the biggest plays of the game belong to Joel Embiid; the dunk to take the lead and the loose ball on the final play. Embiid started the play under the rim and was the first to dive on the floor for the final 50-50 ball. It looks like someone’s starting to get their mojo back …. C. Philadelphia 76ers. JOEL EMBIID

B. <strong>13 mins | 3 pts | 2 reb | 1 ast | 2 stl | 3 blk | 0 TO | 1-1 FG | 1-1 3PT| 0-0 FT | 2 PF | +5</strong><p>After a great start to his rookie season, Thybulle hit a rookie speed-bump. He was useless offensively and his energetic defense got him into trouble. He didn’t see the floor at all in Denver, and his only action against Charlotte was in garbage time. Tonight looked like the <a rel=. SG. Philadelphia 76ers. MATISSE THYBULLE

JOSH RICHARDSON. B. <strong>34 mins | 17 pts | 1 reb | 5 ast | 1 stl | 0 blk | 3 TO | 7-17 FG | 1-8 3PT| 2-2 FT | 2 PF | +2 </strong><p>Josh Richardson had a strong start to the game with eight points in the first quarter. A two-handed jam and an off-the-dribble three were the highlights of his offensive night. Richardson had the ball in his hands often with Ben Simmons being used as a screener for much of the game. His shot selection could have been better, but J-Rich contributed another great two-way effort.</p>. SG. Philadelphia 76ers

B. <strong>35 mins | 15 pts | 5 reb | 6 ast | 2 stl | 2 blk | 4 TO | 7-9 FG | 0-0 3PT| 1-3 FT | 3 PF | +4 </strong><p>Ben Simmons made his return to the floor after missing the last two games with a shoulder injury. He returned with a white undershirt and his usual two-way ability. Simmons was aggressive early on. He was getting to the basket and even hit a jump shot. The Sixers play on both ends improved with the return of Simmons. It was refreshing to see a top-tier defender return to the lineup. Simmons scoring and passing regressed in the second half, but for his first game in over a week, he filled his role.</p>. PG. Philadelphia 76ers. BEN SIMMONS

<strong>31 mins | 10 pts | 4 reb | 1 ast |  stl | 0 blk | 2 TO | 4-9 FG | 2-6 3PT| 0-0 FT | 1 PF | +3 </strong><p>Furkan Korkmaz continues to assert himself as a difference maker. He is well past the days of being the human victory cigar. Korkmaz knocked down two threes and finished two runners in the lane. Ben Simmons’ one-handed slam came off a nifty feed from Korkmaz on the break. What stood out the most tonight was Korkmaz’s defense. He had several excellent vertical contests at the rim, and he did it without fouling or allowing points. We know he can shoot, but Korkmaz turning in all-around games is a major plus.</p>. SF. Philadelphia 76ers. FURKAN KORKMAZ. B-

He’ll take a battering from fans and critics for his shooting, but Tobias Harris played tonight with a stomach bug. Brett Brown admitted after the game was expecting Harris to not play. His 0-for-11 mark from deep is putrid, but he played well late in the game. Harris had four points in the final minutes and had the game-winning feed to Embiid. He showed up when it mattered most and he’ll bounce back in a big way.

The Sixers had more assists, rebounds, and blocks than the Cavaliers. It was yet another rough-looking game for a team that plays their best when the game is at its muddiest and most physical. Good teams win ugly games. Cleveland will most likely be lottery bound, but when you have Kevin Love and a bunch of guards that can score in a hurry, you’ll find yourself in plenty of games. They played well, but if the Sixers had even a mediocre shooting night, the game would have been a wash by the final quarter.

Al Horford sat out tonight for planned rest. The Sixers will travel to Orlando tomorrow night for the second end of a back-to-back. It’s possible Joel Embiid sits out against the Magic, but coming off a two-game suspension and relatively low minutes, I would not be surprised to see him play. Either way I think we’re in for a bump in minutes for Kyle O’Quinn.

Next. Sixers represented by Fan of the Year finalist. dark

The Sixers will reunite with old friends Michael Carter-Williams and Markelle Fultz in Orlando where they will look to improve on their 7-3 record.