Seeing Kevin Love and Matthew Dellavedova in uniform was a welcomed sight for the Cleveland Cavaliers as they hosted the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night. In the first quarter, Love was on fire. He scored all 13 of his points in nine minutes of action, including 3/5 from three-point range. However, he would not score another point the rest of the way.
Cleveland, who trailed 58-56 at halftime, would struggle in the third quarter and be outscored by 10 points, and they would lose to Philadelphia 114-94 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Cleveland has lost four straight and five of their last six games.
Shake Milton had a game-high 27 points for the 76ers off the bench, while Collin Sexton led Cleveland with 24 points and Dean Wade chipped in 16 points. Entering this game, Cleveland was 2-0 against Philadelphia this season.
The third quarter has been a struggle for the Cavaliers this season, and last night Cleveland shot 35% from the field in that quarter, including 0/5 from downtown. Philly would take a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter and would lead by as much as 26 points in the final period.
While the Cavaliers lost on Thursday night, seeing the 32-year-old Love out there and active was a good sign for Cleveland. Love played 20 minutes against the 76ers. After the game, Love, who missed 43 games due to a calf injury, discussed his performance against Philadelphia.
“I think, naturally, just winded. First and foremost,” Love said. “I felt a lot more like myself. I’m, obviously, not there yet but knew that I was coming into this game, I felt confident that I could get in some sort of a rhythm. It, again, just made me so happy to go out there and just play basketball… So happy to be back out there, not hurting, just feeling like myself. That really made me happy.”
Dellavedova made his season debut against Philadelphia on Thursday night after missing time due to a concussion and Appendectomy. While he went 0/4 from the field and did not score in 15 minutes of action, Dellavedova was happy to be out there.
“It was, obviously, tough being out for that long,” he said. “I finally shook like the neck thing. I was hoping to try to play before the break, then I had to go get my appendix out, so I’m just really excited and grateful to be back out there. I appreciate the support of my family, wife, friends, teammates, all the medical staff here, and also, J.B.(Bickerstaff) and Koby(Altman) for sticking with me.”
Injuries have hurt the Cavaliers this season, and on Thursday night, they had their 22nd different starting lineup. However, a lot of teams have dealt with a lot of things this season. Getting Love back helps, and they will get Larry Nance Jr.(illness) and Jarrett Allen(concussion) back soon as they try to make a run for that 10th and final spot(3.0 games behind the Bulls) in the Eastern Conference.