The Cleveland Cavaliers played better than they have of late on Friday night in Philadelphia. They also did lose 125-119, their sixth in their last seven games. Both things can be true.
In a 125-119 loss, the Cavs came out strong, scoring 43 points in the first quarter to take a 13-point lead into the quarter. At one point, they led by as many as 21 points and were playing with a level of effort and composure missing from recent performances. This was as good as the Cavs have been in recent months.
The 76ers, though, did whittle away, cutting the Cavs’ lead to two heading into the fourth quarter. Philadelphia then outscored Cleveland 28-20 in the fourth quarter. Both teams made nine field goals in the quarter, but whereas the Cavs were just 1-7 from three, the 76ers were 3-8. The Cavs were also just 1-1 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter vs. 7-8 for the 76ers.
Darius Garland led the Cavs with 26 points and a career-high 17 assists. Isaac Okoro added 22 points — 13 of which came in the first quarter — with Jarrett Allen and Cedi Osman added 20 points apiece.
Up next: The Cavs are back on Sunday at home against the Toronto Raptors in a key Eastern Conference showdown. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.