Cleveland (31-39) at Philadelphia (30-42)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Philadelphia, PA
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Fri Mar 26, 2004
  • TV: WUAB
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers are going to have to fight through injuries if they want to make the playoffs.

The banged-up teams continue their battle for a postseason berth in the Eastern Conference as the Cavs try to sweep a season series from the Sixers for the first time in seven years.

Cleveland is holding on to the eighth and final playoff berth in the East, but Philadelphia is just two games behind in 11th place.

The Cavs have lost three straight after a seven-game winning streak, and are playing with two injured starters.

Center Zydrunas Ilgauskas left Tuesday night’s 103-86 home loss to Phoenix when he banged into Amare Stoudemire in the third quarter and broke his nose. Ilgauskas, who had 14 points, has been playing well this season, averaging 15.4 points with 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game.

He was fitted for a custom-made face mask, and is expected to play Friday.

Besides Ilgauskas’ injury, point guard Jeff McInnis’ bruised right shoulder is painful and affecting his play. McInnis shot 0-of-7 Tuesday in his first start since missing two games with the injury, and was unsure whether he will play Friday.

“The bottom line is: what do we have inside? What are we made of?” Cavs coach Paul Silas said. “And we’re going to find out very soon.”

Philadelphia has injury problems as well. Allen Iverson has missed the last two games with a sore right knee, and both Derrick Coleman (knee) and Glenn Robinson (elbow) are on the injured list.

The Sixers, however, have won both games without Iverson in the lineup. They beat the Dallas Mavericks 107-98 on Monday, and defeated the Suns 99-94 on Wednesday.

Philadelphia moved to 6-1 in its last seven games without Iverson, and 8-2 when second-leading scorer Robinson also is out.

“It’s great for the guys in there that are working hard,” Sixers interim coach Chris Ford said.

Philadelphia had won 16 straight over Cleveland coming into this season, but the Cavs have won all three meetings and can sweep the season series for the first time since going 3-0 in 1996-97.

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