NBA: Sixers slip by the Cavs at home behind huge performances by the new "Big Three"

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - The Philadelphia 76ers look primed to make an impressive run to the top of the Eastern Conference after outlasting the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

In his fourth game with the Sixers, James Harden scored 25 points against the Cavs.
In his fourth game with the Sixers, James Harden scored 25 points against the Cavs.  © IMAGO / Sports Press Photo

The Sixers beat the Cavs 125-119 for their fifth win in a row, while the Cavs have now suffered through three straight losses.

You'd never have guessed the Cavs would end up dropping this one after the tip-off. They stormed out to post 43 points to Philly’s 30 by the end of the first quarter.

The Sixers did shore things up a little bit during the second to only end up trailing by eight points at halftime.

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That's when Philly's emerging trio really started to impose themselves. Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey tilted the game their way in the third and fourth quarters, as the Sixers outscored the Cavs 62-48.

Cleveland, meanwhile, finished the fourth quarter with 20 points, less than half what they had managed in the first. This downturn was mostly due to great work by the Sixers defense.

It ultimately made a huge difference for Philly, who were outrebounded (41-30) and outscored in fast-break points (19-14) and points down in the paint (64-48).

The player spotlight

Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey led all scorers with 33 points on Friday night.
Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey led all scorers with 33 points on Friday night.  © imago/Icon SMI

Continuing to make a name for himself as one of the players who shouldn’t be overlooked in this league, Philly point guard Tyrese Maxey (21) was on fire for most of the night.

The second-year Sixer is third on the team in scoring with 17.6 points per game and has been fitting right in on the roster as a great compliment to MVP-favorite Joel Embiid, the newly-joined former MVP James Harden, and power forward Tobias Harris.

The Cavs just didn’t seem to have an answer for his long-range shooting and Maxey was nearly perfect from behind the arc, with five out of six threes made on Friday night.

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He finished the game shooting 10-for-15 from the field overall for a game-high 33 points, five assists, and four rebounds.

The big picture

Tyrese Maxey (r) believes his team, as a "unit" will bring Philly a long-overdue NBA title this season.
Tyrese Maxey (r) believes his team, as a "unit" will bring Philly a long-overdue NBA title this season.  © IMAGO/Sports Press Photo

After Friday night’s victory, the Sixers are now 4-0 since Harden was traded over from the Nets.

It’s pretty impressive for sure but it can be even better, especially since it seems that Maxey has come into his own too.

The term, "Big Three" might be thrown around a little too often these days throughout the NBA, and Maxey seems to agree, at least when it comes to him and the rest of his teammates.

"I don't think we look at it as Big 3, Big 2," Maxey said during his postgame comments to the Associated Press. "I think we look at it as one unit."

This "one unit" looks like it could certainly run the table in the east, possibly dethroning the defending champion Bucks along the way.

On Saturday, the Sixers will head south to face the Heat while on Sunday, the Cavs will be back at home to play the Raptors.

Cover photo: IMAGO / Sports Press Photo

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