PHILADELPHIA — It wasn’t pretty, it took five extra minutes and they almost blew it with a wretched third quarter and a few mistakes late, but the Cleveland Cavaliers have matched their longest winning streak of the season — and they can thank their promising young core for it.
The Cavaliers won their third straight game, beating the East-leading Philadelphia 76ers for a second time this season, 112-109 in overtime. This time, Philly had MVP candidate Joel Embiid, who finished with 42 points (just not Tobias Harris).
No Andre Drummond, who didn’t make this trip as the organization continues to look for a trade partner. No Kevin Love, who is unlikely to play before the All-Star break because of a high-grade calf strain. No Matthew Dellavedova, yet to suit up this season thanks to a severe concussion and recent appendectomy. No Larry Nance Jr., the do-it-all unsung hero of the team’s fast start who is making steady progress following surgery on his left hand but still isn’t close to a comeback. Taurean Prince (personal reasons) and Cedi Osman (back spasms) were also unavailable. All six veterans were expected to provide support and experience.
The Cavs’ kids are learning to stand on their own.
Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff discussed the burden that the youngsters have been forced to carry as a result of the injuries. He admitted the growing pains that come with it. His hope: The organization will be better…