Sixers rebound to rattle Cavaliers
Samuel Dalembert's 16 points and 19 rebounds and a defense that quieted LeBron James atoned for Friday's awful loss.
CLEVELAND - Before last night's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, 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 Cavs at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Sixers (10-14) have won five of their last six games, while Cleveland fell to 10-14.
Who would have thought these teams would have the same record at this point?
The Sixers got a huge effort from Samuel Dalembert, who collected 16 points and 19 rebounds.
Reggie Evans added 14 rebounds, and Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller each scored 20.
LeBron James was held to 21 points, including just five in the second half.
"We know we didn't play well on Friday, and that served as motivation tonight," Dalembert said.
Leading by 86-84, the Sixers got some breathing room when Iguodala was credited with a basket on Drew Gooden's goaltending. Iguodala 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 to play to get the Cavs to 89-86.
Kyle Korver then hit two free throws to ice the victory.
One of the keys was the defense of Willie Green, who was defending James for much of the game.
"We just tried to make it tough on him," Green said. "Whatever I could do, I did, but no one player can stop him. It's a collective effort."
Largely because of Dalembert and Evans, the Sixers outrebounded the Cavs by 45-39.
"Especially after Friday, this was great to come in with a hostile crowd, the defending Eastern Conference champions," Evans said. "It doesn't get any better than this."
The Sixers were coming off one of their worst defensive performances in Friday's 109-99 loss to Sacramento. It was 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.
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.
The Sixers weren't hitting from the perimeter, so they wisely started taking it to the basket. Had the 76ers made some open jumpers, they would have been in a better position, but they trailed by 68-67 entering the fourth quarter.
The Sixers then used a 25-18 advantage in the fourth quarter to complete a stunning weekend turnaround.
"We had a lot of commitment from a lot of players," Cheeks said. "Their attitude was not to let what happened on Friday happen again here."