Sixers Prepared for Fight Against Struggling Cavaliers

CLEVELAND -- The Sixers don't expect an easy night in spite of the Cavaliers' recent struggles.

The Cavs hit a three-game skid with Thursday's loss to the Bulls. They have dropped five of their last seven contests and, most significantly, fallen out of first place in the Eastern Conference.

The Cavs' troubles reached the point where they held a postgame team meeting Thursday night.

"It's ugly right now," Kyrie Irving said, according to Cleveland.com. "It's real, real ugly. But we'll get out of this, we'll be fine."

The Sixers know the Cavaliers are in need of a bounce-back win as they near the playoffs, and are prepared for a fight.

"They can blink and switches can be flipped," Brett Brown said after shootaround on Friday.

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The Cavaliers are stacked with star power, regardless of their recent performances. LeBron James had 26 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists against the Bulls. The Cavs are 28-8 at home and their crowd can be expected to come out in full force on Friday.

"These guys are highly competitive, they're highly skilled, as good as a collection of any sort of team, in my opinion, assembled over the years," Brown said. "It's really quite remarkable when you really look at their team when everyone's healthy. Just at the moment, they're in a little bit of a lull. Maybe it's boredom, maybe it's the quiet time before the storm. I don't know."

The Sixers will take on the Cavaliers with a fraction of their roster. Robert Covington (right knee swelling/discomfort), Jahlil Okafor (right knee soreness) and Sergio Rodriguez (left hamstring strain) did not travel with the team on this trip, which also includes the Raptors on Sunday.

Gerald Henderson is listed as probable with left hip soreness. Tiago Splitter also is probable. If Splitter does play, he would be limited to segments of 3 to 4 minutes at a time.

The shorthanded Sixers ran through shootaround preparing for the Cavaliers team that won the title last season, not the one that is struggling just before the playoffs.

"I'm sure they are good to go," Brown said. "We can't read in too much. They're well-coached, they've got great players, and we expect nothing different than that tonight."

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