James scores 37, leads Cavaliers past 76ers for seventh straight win
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- LeBron James raised the roof, then lifted the Cleveland Cavaliers to their seventh straight win, 95-85 over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night.
James tied a season high with 37 points and pushed both hands up in the air after several powerful dunks, drawing a rise out of the nearly 20,000 fans at the Wells Fargo Center. He had nine assists and seven rebounds in Cleveland's 13th win in the last 15 games.
Even when James seems fallible he still steals the show. An unsuspecting James took an errant basketball to the face during pregame warmups. The clip was a hit on social media.
James even tossed the ball backward over his head after the whistle and watched it plop through the net.
He must have wished the bucket counted because the Cavaliers couldn't put away the NBA-worst 76ers until the fourth quarter.
The Sixers pulled as close as two points with 8 minutes left before James thwarted the upset bid.
Jahlil Okafor scored 21 points for the Sixers and Ish Smith had 18 points and 10 assists.
With only four wins, the 76ers were 27th in the league in attendance. But with basketball's reigning king in the house, the Sixers boasted a near-sellout crowd of 19,226.
They nearly got their wish of watching a vintage James performance coupled with a 76ers win.
James would not let that happen.
The Sixers inched to 81-79 when James took control. He buried a 22-footer from the wing, grabbed a defensive rebound and made one of two free throws. James tossed in an awkward, falling layup -- complete with a stare-down of Hollis Thompson -- then hit a 3-pointer.
Just like that, the Cavs led by 10.
The Sixers put up a fight. James put on a show.
In the city where Darryl Dawkins shattered countless backboards, James nearly pulled down the rim with a dunk in the first quarter. He raised the roof in celebration. He raised it a few more times during the game, including one last powerful dunk in the fourth that made it 93-79. James even did a celebratory routine with J.R. Smith on their way to the bench for a timeout. Smith scored 14 points.
James had plenty of help. Kevin Love had 15 points and 15 rebounds and had a few spot-on outlet passes to James for some of his seven assists.
Smith and James hit seven of Cleveland's nine 3-pointers.
Cavaliers: Cleveland swept all four games in the season series. ... The Cavaliers had scored at least 120 points in three straight games. ... James already had two double-doubles this season against Philly.
Sixers: Coach Brett Brown called a timeout just 1 minute into both halves. ... Brown said forward Nerlens Noel's progress has been hampered by switching positions from center to power forward to make room for Okafor. "I feel like Nerlens Noel has made the most sacrifices out of anybody," he said. Brown said Okafor can't play at forward because, "I don't think Jahlil can guard chase guys." Noel scored 12 points.
Cleveland plays Tuesday at Dallas.
The 76ers host Chicago on Thursday.