Cavs win fourth straight over 76ers, 108-101
By DAN GELSTON
PHILADELPHIA (AP) LeBron James brought out Philly’s All-Stars, an MVP and a just-acquired Cy Young winner.
No one tops the King, however, in star power.
James gave Philly’s famous fans
something to remember with a pair of clutch 3s in the fourth quarter,
scoring 36 points to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 108-101 victory
over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
“I think we have a team now where we know who we are,” James said.
Phillies’ ace Roy Halladay, acquired
earlier in the day from Toronto, watched from a suite. Phillies slugger
Ryan Howard, Flyers goalie Ray Emery and forward Mike Richards, and
Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson all had tickets.
James had another James-type night
against one of the worst teams in the NBA. He went 12 for 26 from the
floor, got hot in the fourth and silenced another road crowd that
packed the place just to watch him play.
Mo Williams hit back-to-back shots in
the fourth that gave the Cavaliers a lead they would never relinquish
and scored 12 points.
Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 26
points, and Thaddeus Young and Allen Iverson each had 16. The Sixers
have lost 13 of 14 games.
Iverson had his left knee drained before the game for the second time this week and will have an MRI on Thursday.
“This one’s on me. I let us down
tonight,” Iverson said. “I feel bad, that’s a game we should have won.
We didn’t make shots at the time we needed to make shots.”
The crowd chanted “We Want A.I.!”
with Iverson on the bench as the Sixers made a fourth-quarter charge
that put them ahead against a team that has 13 more victories.
Iguodala’s 3-pointer with 5:50 left stretched the lead to 94-90.
But James came right back and sank his own 3. He then matter-of-factly hit another one that made it 96-all
James dished to Williams for a long
jumper that gave the Cavs a 98-96 lead. Iguodala, who takes all the big
shots for the Sixers, missed a 3 and Williams capitalized with a
3-pointer for a 101-96 lead.
The 3s were the first two field goals of the game for Williams, who was averaging 16.7 points.
“That’s Mo,” James said. “I’ve got 150 percent trust in Mo.”
James stepped back for an 18-footer
that all but sealed the win for the Cavaliers. They were coming off a
99-89 win over New Jersey on Tuesday night.
“LeBron James, being who he is, hit some big shots for us,” coach Mike Brown said.
Iverson, Iguodala and Young brought the Sixers back from an early 12-point hole to take the lead in the third quarter.
Iverson put them up for the first
time on a 19-footer from the wing that made it 68-67. He had an assist
on one of Philadelphia’s more dazzling plays of the season – a running
alley-oop pass from beyond the 3-point arc to a soaring Iguodala for
the dunk and a 74-72 lead.
Daniel Gibson quickly quieted, and
seated, the roaring crowd of 19,517 with a 3-pointer for the lead. The
Cavaliers led 83-80 at the end of the third.
“No team is under .500 when they play us,” James said. “Everybody plays well when they play against us.”
Halladay had earned the loudest
ovation before the A.I.-A.I. alley-oop. He received a standing ovation
when he was introduced, and smiled and waved to the fans from his
Sixers forward Marreese Speights
played for the first time since he tore the MCL in his left knee on
Nov. 14. Speights showed no sign of injury when he leaped off the court
for a one-handed dunk in the fourth that cut the hole to 87-84.
Sixers forward Elton Brand was
benched for the second straight game, and might be permanently there.
Coach Eddie Jordan wants the smaller, quicker backcourt of Iverson and
Jrue Holiday, and Young, Sam Dalembert and swingman Iguodala on the
Iguodala hurt his ribs in Monday’s win, but looked sharp against the Cavs.
Brand has not complained about his
role, though he feels he should be a starter. His three-point play in
the middle of the fourth tied the game at 89.
Jordan used Brand at center in the fourth quarter. Brand still played 33 minutes and had 14 points.
He didn’t sign a five-year deal in 2008 to ride the bench for a lousy team.
NOTES: Cavs G Delonte West scored
four points in 23 minutes after he was inactive Tuesday night. … The
Cavaliers hit 9 3s. … The Sixers are 0-15 when they’ve trailed by
Updated December 16, 2009