CLEVELAND - Before last night's game against the Cleveland Cavlilers, 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks talked about the chance to gain quick redemption in the NBA.
A night after a disappointing loss to the road-challenged Sacramento Kings, the Sixers bounced back with a 92-86 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Sixers (10-14) have now won five of their last six games, while Cleveland fell to (10-14).
Who would have thought these teams would have the same records at this point?
The Sixers received a huge effort from Samuel Dalembert, who had 16 points and 19 rebounds.
Reggie Evans added 14 rebounds, while Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller seach scored 20 points.
LeBron James was held to 21 points, including just five in the second half.
Leading 86-84, the Sixers got some breathing room when Iguodala was credited with a basket on a Drew Gooden goaltending. Iguodala also made the ensuing free throw for an 89-84 advantage with 1 minute, 1 second left.
James, who was quiet for most of the second half, scored on a driving layup with 10.6 seconds left to get the Cavs to within 89-86.
Kyle Korver then hit two free throws to ice matters.
The Sixers were coming off one of their worst defensive performances in Friday's 109-99 loss to visiting Sacramento. It was also the Kings' first road win in 10 tries. Meanwhile, Cleveland didn't exactly enter the game on a roll. The Cavs lost on Friday to New Jersey, 105-97.
Cleveland may be one of the least-respected defending Eastern Conference champions. This is a team that has been accused of being little more than James and a less-than-imposing supporting cast.
And when James missed five games recently with a sprained left index finger, the Cavs went 0-5, supporting the argument of the skeptics.
James came out aggressively last night. The Cavs like to start plays by setting high screen-and-rolls for him.
Not that he needs much help, but when he gets open off a screen-and-roll and has a little room, James is devastating in taking it to the basket.
Nobody has a better combination of speed and power in the NBA than the 6-foot-8, 250-pound James.
And if he gets one step on a defense, it's usually all over. Iguodala discovered that firsthand. James had 12 points in the first quarter, scoring mainly on drives to the basket.
Cleveland led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter, but the Sixers received a major boost off the bench from Korver, who scored nine points in the first half.
James scored only four points in the second quarter, and Sixers point guard Andre Miller had 10 of his 16 first-half points in the second, giving the Sixers a 51-46 halftime lead.
In the first half, Iguodala picked up three fouls while guarding James. The Sixers also used Thaddeus Young and Willie Green on James.
Surprisingly, Cleveland didn't go to James much when Green was guarding him, despite having five inches and an advantage in speed and power on the Sixers guard.
One reason the Cavaliers have struggled this season is the inconsistent play from their guards.
Two former Sixers, Eric Snow and Larry Hughes, saw sufficient time in the backcourt, but they combined for only three first-half points.
Green, Miller and then Iguodala all took turns in the third quarter guarding James, who had only two third-quarter points.
James was content to let others get involved, especially Drew Gooden, who scored 10 points in the third quarter.
The Sixers weren't hitting from the perimeter, so they wisely started taking it to the basket. Had they made some open jumpers, the Sixers would have been in a better position, but they trailed by 68-67 entering the fourth quarter.