Iguodala Stays Hot as 76ers Defeat Cavaliers
Philadelphia 116, Cleveland 107
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 22 (Ticker) -- Andre Iguodala is having a very long All-Star Weekend.
Iguodala scored 25 points and made a terrific hustle play down the stretch as the hot-shooting Philadelphia 76ers returned from the All-Star break with a 116-107 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"The last loss (to Chicago) before the break stuck with us," Iguodala said. "We just tried to get on track. We talked (Tuesday) and this morning about being a little more aggressive and making those guys work on offense. Most of the time I'm guarding the top scorer and they're guarding me. I need to make them work as well."
A second-year swingman known for his defense and dunking, Iguodala had a coming-out party at All-Star Weekend in Houston. He scored 30 points and was named MVP of the Rookie Challenge on Friday night and had one of the best dunks in the history of the Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday night, finishing second.
"I think that he got himself involved in the game tonight," Iverson said. "It wasn't anything that we did specifically. I think that he is still going off the momentum from the All-Star Weekend. If that weekend didn't let him know that he can be a great player, then nothing will. I think that he got the message."
"Coach Cheeks said that I have to step it up each game," Iguodala said. "I think I've stepped my game up this year from last year, but I think there's a lot more I can do as well."
Assigned to All-Star Game MVP LeBron James, Iguodala still contributed on offense as he came up one point shy of his season high. He made 9-of-15 shots - including a handful of dunks - and six rebounds, including the most important one of the game.
The Sixers were clinging to a 110-105 lead with less than two minutes to go when Kyle Korver missed a jumper that bounced off the front rim. Iguodala came from across the court and tracked down the long rebound, leading to a jumper by Iverson with 1:31 to play that gave Philadelphia some breathing room.
"Kyle took the shot and it came off the rim short," Iguodala said. "It has a long bounce and I had to get to it. When a chance develops to score, you got to take advantage of it."
Iverson made 10-of-24 shots and added four steals. Webber made 10-of-16 shots and added four assists. They have been a strong 1-2 punch this season but have been criticized for not getting their teammates more involved.
"We had 27 assists and we moved the ball well," Iverson said. "Everybody did a great job playing off of each other. We just finding each other. We played an all-around team game tonight."
"We were just aggressive from the start," Webber said. "The biggest thing is that we shared the ball. When we play together we're a tough team to beat."
Korver scored 13 points off the bench for the Sixers, who never trailed and led by as many as 17 points as they improved to 2-1 vs. the Cavaliers this season. They have won 22 of the last 26 meetings.
"This is one of the more difficult teams for us to compete against," James said. "They have so many guys they can go to offensively and they have given us trouble. No doubt about it this has been the team that has given us the most trouble in the Eastern Conference this season."
James scored 33 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 22 of his 27 in the first half for the Cavaliers, who had a three-game winning streak snapped. They shot 46 percent (40-of-86).
"They got off to a good run when we didn't get back in transition," James said. "They were able to get easy lay-ups and when you get down like that it is hard to come back against a team that scores so well."
Iguodala scored 12 points in the first half, when the Sixers shot 58.5 percent (24-of-41) and committed just three turnovers to open a 59-49 lead. Webber's jumper made it 75-58 midway through the third period.
The Cavaliers closed to 87-84 early in the fourth quarter before Iguodala had a jumper and dunk in a 12-4 surge.