On paper, it seems like such a break for the 76ers to end their six-game road losing streak: a matchup against the team with the fewest wins in the Eastern Conference.

That would be the Cleveland Cavaliers (16-41) whom the Sixers meet in Wednesday night at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

One would expect that the Sixers (36-22) should be able to cut into that 9-20 road record.

Not so fast.

During the all-star break, Cavs coach John Beilein resigned before completing his first beleaguered season after a successful college coaching career.

Associate head coach J.B. Bickerstaff has taken over. Lo and behold, the Cavs are 2-1 under Bickerstaff, and 3-1 in their last four games. Bickerstaff has gotten this opportunity after being fired as the Memphis Grizzlies head coach at the end of last season.

So it would be premature to give the Sixers an automatic W over the Cavs, although anything less will have the detractors howling.

At least in the beginning of the Bickerstaff era, the Cavs are showing some spunk. On Monday, Cleveland overcame a 22-point deficit, including being 19 down to start the fourth quarter, to stun the Miami Heat, 125-119, in overtime. Rookie Kevin Porter scored a career-high 30 points and Kevin Love had his 20th double-double of the year, 17 points and 14 rebounds.

That win also helped the Sixers, who are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but just a half-game behind the fourth-place Heat.

On Monday, the Sixers earned a 129-112 win over Atlanta, another Eastern Conference bottom-feeder that had been playing well, having won four it its previous seven.

With Ben Simmons out due a nerve impingement in his lower back, the Sixers will again lean on Joel Embiid, who scored a career-high 49 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the win over Atlanta.

Probable starters

SIXERS (36-22)

12 Tobias Harris SF 6-9 19.0 ppg. 6.8 rpg.

42 Al Horford PF 11.6 ppg., 6.7 rpg.

21 Joel Embiid C 7-0 23.8 ppg. 12.0 rpg.

0 Josh Richardson SG 14.2 ppg. 3.2 apg.

18 Shake Milton PG 6.7 ppg. 1.7 apg.

Coach: Brett Brown (seventh season, 214-336)

Injuries: Ben Simmons (lower back nerve impingement) is out. Norvel Pelle (upper respiratory illness) is doubtful.


16 Cedi Osman SF 10.9 ppg. 3.6 rpg.

0 Kevin Love PF 17.5 ppg. 9.7 rpg.

3 Andre Drummond C 17.3 ppg. 15.3 rpg.

2 Collin Sexton SG 19.7 pg. 2.8 apg.

10 Darius Garland pg 12.3 ppg. 3.9 apg.

Coach: J.B. Bickerstaff (1st season, 2-1; overall, 87-132)

Injuries: Dante Exum (left ankle sprain), Alfonzo McKinnie (left foot plantar fascitis) and Dylan Wyndler (left lower leg stress reaction) are all out.

The series

The Sixers lead, 109-103, including 3-0 this season.

Last meeting

On Dec. 7, the Sixers crushed the Cavaliers, 141-94, at the Wells Fargo Center. Simmons scored a career high with 34 points. He was 12 of 14 from the field and hit his only three-point attempt, one of only two made threes this season. Since-departed Trey Burke had a team-high eight assists for the Sixers. Rookie Darius Garland led the Cavs with 17 points.

Next five games

Thursday: New York Knicks at Sixers, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia

Sunday: Sixers at Los Angeles Clippers, 3:30 p.m. ABC

Tuesday: Sixers at Los Angeles Lakers, 10 p.m. TNT

March 5: Sixers at Sacramento Kings, 10 p.m. NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus

March 7: Sixers at Golden State Warriors, 8:30 p.m. ABC