Sixers-Cavaliers 5 Things: Cleveland Stumbling to Finish Line

The Sixers (28-47) head back on the road to face the slumping Cleveland Cavaliers (47-27) at Quicken Loans Arena (7:30 p.m./CSN, and the NBC Sports app).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. On the road again
That was quick.

After a five-game road trip, the Sixers returned home for brief appearance -- a 99-92 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday -- before heading back out of the Wells Fargo Center.

Friday night's clash against the Cavaliers will mark the Sixers' 11th road game during March. They are 3-7 away from home this month.

To make matters worse for the Sixers, they will be without Robert Covington, Jahlil Okafor and Sergio Rodriguez for their weekend road trip against the Cavs and Toronto Raptors (see story).

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2. Stumbling to the finish line
The Cavs sure don't look like a team gearing up for a repeat bid as NBA champions.

The latest evidence was the team's blowing an early lead during a 99-93 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night. The defeat marked a season sweep at the hands of the Bulls and dropped the Cavs to just 6-10 this month.

Defense was again the issue as the Cavs allowed the Bulls to score 37 points in the third quarter and shoot 48.0 percent from three-point range for the game.

The Cavs rank 23rd for the season in defensive rating with 108.0 points allowed per 100 possessions. They've been even worse since the All-Star break with a 113.5 defensive rating, ahead of only the Los Angeles Lakers.

"Just in a bad spot right now," LeBron James said after losing to the Bulls. "I'm not disappointed with the effort. Just in a bad spot. We need to figure it out."

3. Look out from long range
Besides James, the Cavs' main equalizer this season has been the three-point shot.

Cleveland ranks second in the NBA in three-pointers attempted per game (33.5), threes made (12.9) and percentage (38.5).

The Sixers have witnessed the Cavs' long-distance prowess firsthand this season. The Cavaliers drilled 26 threes in the first two meetings back in November.

4. Injuries
Covington (knee), Rodriguez (hamstring), Okafor (knee), Joel Embiid (knee), Ben Simmons (foot) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

Richard Jefferson (knee) is a game-time decision. Kyle Korver (foot) is out for the Cavaliers.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost eight straight to the Cavs.

• After passing Hakeem Olajuwon for 10th on the NBA's all-time scoring list against the Sixers on Nov. 5, James passed Shaquille O'Neal for seventh place against the Bulls on Thursday.

• Kevin Love has averaged 15.9 points and 11.7 rebounds against the Sixers during his career.

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