Sixers 108, Cavaliers 97: Dario Saric ices the cake, JJ Redick gets sneaky and other quick observations

Roles were meant to be broken

If JJ Redick steps onto a basketball court, everyone knows what he is there to do. He is a shooter, and it’s absolutely expected that he will live hovering around the three-point line. Which is exactly why it is so valuable that he also be an effective driver. The Cavaliers fell for this with Redick and with Marco Belinelli. Cleveland made sure there was plenty of coverage on the perimeter and both players were able to drive in with ease purely because it wasn’t expected. This kind of thing isn’t going to work too many times during a game, or even every game, but it will work a handful of times and it’s an underutilized weapon.

Ilyasova’s return

After a short stint away, Ersan Ilyasova is a Sixer once more. He made his season-debut with the Sixers on Thursday night and finished with six points, two assists, and two rebounds in just over six minutes of action. Not much of a sample size to see how he is going to fit in and how he will compliment the rest of this roster. Though he has played for Brett Brown and with some of the current Sixers, things are completely different so there will be an adjustment period.

LeBron is still young

Turns out that 33 is just a number. Without a significant injury, and maintaining high minutes through the regular season and playoffs, LeBron James still manages to somehow look like the most spry player on the court even when he’s surrounded by youth on both teams. He finished with a game-high 30 points to go with nine rebounds and eight assists.

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Could Ben Simmons share the court with LeBron James?

Covington goes back to basics

Robert Covington started out the year on a shooting tear, hovering around 50 percent from beyond the arc. He’s been streaky since, and though usually known for his defense, Covington has had a few less than stellar nights on the defensive end. He started out Thursday night with a couple early three’s and was excellent on the defensive end. With switching and flow of game, there wasn’t a player that he didn’t cover at least once. When the long shots weren’t connecting Covington didn’t slack off on the other end even when picking up the most difficult of coverages with James in front of him. Covington finished with a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double.

Dear Dario Saric,

Dunk the ball whenever you want, Homie. You guys were going to win anyway at that point, no reason not to bump your stats a little or give the Cavs another reason to remember who you are. Maybe by then end of the game they’d forgotten you were the one that sank a crucial three-pointer from the corner in front of their bench while they were yelling in your ear. By my calculations, the clock was still running and you had the ball, so you did nothing wrong. Sorry, Jordan Clarkson, there might be courtesies or niceties that you were expecting, but if you are caught off guard your first reaction can’t be to fly off the handle. Pretty sure that everyone in Philly enjoys a little icing on the cake, so well done, Dario.