Back Favorite with NBA Picks in Cavaliers vs. 76ers

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 12:32 PM GMT

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers, who open up the second half of the NBA season against one another on Tuesday, could look vastly different come Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern as both clubs are rumored to be active in trade talks ahead of that deadline.

The Cavaliers are aiming to get into the playoffs but are currently 11th in the East, three games behind No. 8 Charlotte. They would like to get something for Dion Waiters, for example. Philadelphia has the East's second-worst record and has made no secret of the fact it is in a total rebuild and that just about anyone on the roster short of rookie Michael Carter-Williams can be had. It would be an upset if at least one of Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young or Spencer Hawes isn't gone by Thursday. Cleveland opened as a 4.5-point favorite on NBA odds for this game with a total of 208.

Cavs Finding Stride?

The firing of Cleveland general manger Chris Grant on Feb. 6 appears to have sparked something as the Cavaliers (23-30 ATS, 25-28 O/U at sportsbooks) enter the second half with a four-game winning streak that's the longest in the conference and Cleveland's longest since March 2010. The only opponent among those four with a winning record is Memphis, but you can only play who is on the schedule. There's some talk the Cavs might like to acquire a backup point guard for Kyrie Irving, who was named the All-Star Game MVP on Sunday night. Irving is averaging 23.6 points on 53.4 percent shooting along with 8.4 assists and 3.0 steals in his past five regular-season games.

Jarrett Jack has been a disappointment for the most part as Irving's backup. Denver's Andre Miller has been mentioned as a target to return to Cleveland, where he began his NBA career. There was even talk the Cavs could ship out Luol Deng, their big trade acquisition, because it's now unlikely he re-signs there. The current winning streak means that's probably not going to happen now. Cleveland will try and do whatever it takes to create some positive momentum for the franchise in the hopes the Cavs can convince LeBron James to return this summer.

Long Season In Philly

Probably no team was happier to see the All-Star Break than the 76ers (21-33 ATS, 26-25-3 O/U at sportsbooks) as they remain without a win this month. Philly had largely stopped being competitive, too. It was blown out 123-78 at the L.A. Clippers on Feb. 9 and followed that a night later with a 123-80 destruction at Golden State. That minus-93 point differential in consecutive losses was two points shy of the NBA record set by the 1966-67 Pistons. The Sixers closed the first half by at least showing up in Salt Lake City, losing 105-100 to Utah. The Jazz were the eighth straight team to score at least 105 points against Philly, which allows the  most points per game (110.4) in the NBA. It has given up nearly 116 per game in this eight-game losing streak.

Unfortunately for the Sixers, Turner's value is decreasing as he has struggled after a strong start. He's averaging only 13.4 points on 39.7 percent shooting in his past 10 games. Turner has been linked to San Antonio, Charlotte and Phoenix. Young has been linked to the Spurs and Suns.

Season Series

Fourth and final meeting. Cleveland leads 2-1. On Nov. 8 at Philadelphia, the Sixers won 94-79 as 3-point underdogs for sports bettors. Turner led the 76ers with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Irving had one of his worst games, going 4-for-17 for 10 points. The teams played the next night in Cleveland and the Cavs won 127-125 in overtime as 8-point favorites on NBA odds. Irving missed potential game-winners at the end of regulation and first OT but hit the winning layup with 0.6 seconds left in the second overtime. Irving finished with 39 points and 12 assists, while Carter-Williams had 21 points and 13 assists. It was the most points scored this year by the Cavs and second-most for Philly.

Finally, on Jan. 7 in Cleveland the Cavs were 5.5-point favorites on NBA odds and won 111-93. Cavs reserve C.J. Miles set a team record with 10 3-pointers on the way to a season-high 34 points. The game was essentially over after the first quarter when Cleveland outscored the Sixers 36-20. That game was only hours after Deng was acquired and he wasn't in uniform. Philly's Young and Turner combined to shoot 2-for-20 for four points.

NBA free pick: We'll take Cleveland -4.5 and under in our NBA picks for this match-up. The Cavs end a five-game losing streak (0-5 ATS) in the City of Brotherly Love. The Sixers have covered just three of their past 16 home games against teams with a losing road record. The under has hit in six of the past seven meetings overall.

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