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Wrap-Up – What better place to make history than the City of Brotherly Love?
The Cavaliers won their third straight game – blowing past the young Sixers after falling behind by 14 after one – and in the process, saw their superstar become the youngest player in NBA history to top the 25,000-point plateau. Not long after his historic feat, James sat and watched his teammates hold off the Sixers to take the 107-100 victory on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
James, who notched his 25,000th and 25,001st points on an alley-oop from Matthew Dellavedova, barely missed his 40th career regular season triple double – finishing with 22 points, 11 assists, nine boards, four steals and a pair of blocked shots. After starting the game 3-for-11 from the floor, the 11-time All-Star went 6-of-8 in the second half.
Moments after LeBron reached the career milestone, even the city’s fans that booed Santa Claus had to stand and applaud in appreciation of the game’s greatest player.
Mo Williams followed up with an efficient 21 points – going 8-for-10 from the field, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc to go with three assists and a steal.
Kevin Love continued his solid start, finishing with 15 points on 7-for-14 shooting, adding eight boards and a pair of helpers.
Cleveland’s reserves also continued to produce. Matthew Dellavedova came off the bench to net 12 points, nine assists and three boards and Tristan Thompson added eight points, nine boards and three blocks. James Jones notched 12 points in just 15 minutes – going 4-for-5 from long-distance, including a bomb from the left corner with 15.8 remaining to kill Philly’s late rally.
That Sixers rally began as the Cavaliers were starting to coast towards the finish line – leading by 21 with 4:39 to play. Over the next four minutes, Brett Brown’s scrappy squad outscored Cleveland, 19-4, before Jones’ trey put the win on ice.
Jones, who’s played sparingly this season, was partially pressed into service because of the right leg contusion that starting guard J.R. Smith suffered just five minutes into the ballgame.
After shooting just 36 percent in opening period, the Cavaliers finished at 52 percent on the night, holding Philly to 44 percent. Cleveland out-ran the Sixers on the break, 28-23, and blocked nine shots – four by Mozgov.
Turning Point – Whatever Coach David Blatt preached to his squad at intermission worked – with the Wine and Gold coming into the game’s second stanza on a mission.
After allowing a 32-point first quarter and trailing by two touchdowns after one period, the Cavaliers closed the gap in the second. They began the second half on a 9-0 run and never looked back – outscoring the Sixers, 58-46, in the second half and 89-68 after that sluggish first quarter.
By the Numbers – 30, 307 … years and days that it took LeBron James to reach the 25,000-point mark, surpassing Kobe Bryant to that mark. The Wine and Gold’s four-time MVP now 191 points away from the Logo – Jerry West – for 19th on the NBA’s all-time list.
Quotable – LeBron James, on getting a standing ovation from the notoriously tough Philadelphia crowd …
”It’s pretty cool. I haven’t really had the opportunity to categorize the list of things I’ve done. To be able to do it in winning fashion, number one, and to do it with this group of guys – to be in a building that loves the game of basketball. Obviously, they’re Sixers fans to death but they know and they respect the game of basketball. To get a standing ovation for reaching that milestone, it was very special.”
Up Next – After winning their third straight – dropping the Sixers in Philly -- and playing three of their first four on the road, the Cavaliers return to The Q for a four-game homestand. On Wednesday, they welcome the Knicks to town, followed by a visit from the Sixers on Friday night. The Wine and Gold welcome the new-look Pacers to Cleveland for a Sunday afternoon affair (3:30 p.m.) and close out against the Utah Jazz next Tuesday. After the four-gamer, Cleveland plays its next three on the road – visiting New York, Milwaukee and Detroit.