Final Dime: Cavaliers 123, Sixers 116
J.J. Hickson drives for two of his 16 points in Friday's win in Philly.
But these young Cavaliers are one week wiser and, instead of folding, put their foot on the gas in the final quarter – scoring 44 points in the period to take their second win of the season, a dramatic 123-116 win over the Sixers.
The Cavaliers jumped on the Sixers early and enjoyed a double-digit edge through most of the first half. But Cleveland came out of the locker room flat and, led by Jrue Holiday’s 13-point period, watched their lead evaporate in the third, with Philadelphia taking the lead midway through the quarter.
The Sixers held that lead until late in the fourth, and that’s when Daniel Gibson took things personally – igniting a one-man 10-2 run to give Cleveland back the lead with 3:25 to play. By then, Mo Williams had caught fire and – combined with Anderson Varejao’s herculean effort – the Wine and Gold wouldn’t relinquish the lead down the stretch.
“As soon as we came into the huddle, I said, ‘Not this time. It ain’t gonna happen this time. They made their run, great, but now it’s time to make ours,’” explained Gibson. “It took a while for that to set in, but we did it. And that’s what it’s all about. We’re a gritty bunch of guys and we’re going to fight you tooth-and-nail until the end.”
When the smoke cleared, Boobie had notched 17 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, with Mo and Andy adding eight and nine points apiece.
Varejao was unstoppable – literally – on Friday night, going 10-for-10 from the floor for 23 points, doubling up with a game-high 12 boards.
Mo added 22 points of his own, playing into a rhythm as the second half progressed. Despite going 0-for-5 from long distance, Williams finished 6-for-15 from the field and 10-of-12 from the stripe.
Gibson was 6-of-9 from the floor, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc, and went 8-for-11 from the free throw line. Boobie played a solid floor game as well – pitching in with five boards, four helpers and a steal.
As a team, the Cavaliers shot 55 percent and dominated Philly on the boards, 41-30. They bounced back from an 18-point third quarter with a 44-point fourth and weathered a career-high 29 points from Holiday. Sixers guard, Andre Iguodala, missed the entire second half with a strained Achilles.
The Cavaliers hope to build on Friday’s tough road win when they head to the nation’s capital for the second half of a weekend back-to-back against John Wall and the Wizards.
2. With Friday’s win, the Cavaliers have now won seven straight against the Sixers in the City of Brotherly Love.
3. Antawan Jamison was a game-time scratch on Friday night. “He’s gotten better, but there’s still some soreness there,” said Byron Scott. “So we’ll take it day by day, keep working on it, and hopefully, we’ll have a better idea tomorrow if he can play in Washington.”
Although the 12-year vet is struggling so far this season, last year Jamison averaged 23.7 and 11.0 against Philly.
4. Before Friday’s game, Doug Collins – who returned to the bench after missing Wednesday’s game with vertigo symptoms – talked about coaching Byron Scott for one season at Arizona State. “(The Cavs are a) very, very aggressive team that takes on the personality of one of my favorite people – Byron Scott. I coached him in college, so I’ve known Byron since he was an 18-year-old kid. He was aggressive when I coached him and his teams are aggressive.”
5. Anderson Varejao notched the second “20-10” game of his career – the last one coming against Portland last December. The last Cavalier to be perfect in as many attempts from the floor was Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who went 10-for-10 in January 2008 against the Wizards.
6. After missing the first three games of the season and coming off the bench against Atlanta, Mo Williams got his first start of the season – adding team-highs with seven assists and three steals to go with his 22-point effort.
7. World B. Free – once the Cavaliers “Prince of Mid-Air” – is now the 76ers community ambassador. The former All-Star, who played with the Cavs from 1982-1986, was resplendent in a black suit with metallic gold highlights and a matching gold tie.
8. On Friday, reserve forward Joey Graham got his earliest call and longest run of the season – notching his first bucket of the season with 1:03 remaining in first quarter. Graham, who had played just four total minutes coming into the game, finished with 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting in just under 15 minutes of action.
9. The Cavaliers made a whopping 48 trips to the stripe on Friday – hitting on 38 attempts.
10. Before moving next door to the Wells Fargo Center, the Sixers had played their ball at the Spectrum since 1967. The legendary arena – which, for the moment still stands in the same sports complex – is being torn down soon. But before it’s razed, the building is hosting an “If You Can Carry It, You Can Keep It” event on Saturday morning, with fans paying $25 to get into the Spectrum and walk away with anything they can carry out.