Sometimes you win games that you should have lost. Tonight was one of those games.
Andre Iguodala scored 30 points for Philadelphia and Elton Brand added 24 to lead all scorers, but it wasn't enough as the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Sixers 100-95 at Wachovia Center Friday night. Philly did a lot of damage inside as they scored 66 points in the paint against one of the NBA's best defenses, but late shots would not fall as the Sixers dropped their 8th game out of their last 9.
LeBron James led the Cavs with 23 points and 10 assists, while Mo Williams added 21 points as Cleveland moved to 51-15 on the year, 5 games up on the rest of the Eastern Conference.
James had one of his worst shooting nights of the season after taking a six-day rest from action. James went 7-for-18 from the floor, 3-for-10 from 3-point range and 6-for-12 from the free throw line, but his 10 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots made the difference.
Mo Williams, by contrast, had an excellent night with the ball, shooting 8-for-13 from the field, including 4-for-8 from long range.
Philadelphia refused to go away all night long and stayed close from start to finish. The Sixers scored on every one of their first 10 possessions, rattling off 34 points in the first quarter, mostly from close range.
"We just had to get some pressure on defense. They were getting to the basket too much, and I think we took it to them late in the game and got the win."
- Jamario Moon
Cleveland had consistent trouble stopping Philly's inside game until Samuel Dalembert fouled out with 4 and a half minutes left in the game. With Dalembert on the sidelines, the Cavs defense was able to concentrate more on Iguodala instead of collapsing down on the Sixers' big man in the middle. Philly only had two field goals the rest of the night after Dalembert's exit, and neither of them were inside the paint.
"We weren't good in transition in that first half. I think we did a better job with the transition game in the second half. LeBron had some big plays defensively for us in the second half, especially on the weak side."
- Head Coach Mike Brown
Bench heroes of the night - Delonte West, who had 17 points and a crucial steal in the final minute, and Anderson Varejao who had a double/double of 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Cavaliers return home Sunday afternoon for a key matchup with the Boston Celtics at 330pm. The game will be on ABC