CLEVELAND - As 76ers coach
stood outside his team's locker room an hour before tip-off,
, the Cleveland Cavaliers injured guard, walked past with a yellow headband and fake black 'fro.
Gibson said hello. Cheeks laughed.
"That's like something out of the '70s," Cheeks quipped.
Actually, it was Ben Wallace hair night at the Quicken Loans Arena, where the Cavaliers haven't lost. Big Ben started the game but had no points. He did have two assists and five rebounds as Cleveland, 13-0 at home and 20-3 overall, remained the NBA's only undefeated home team.
"They've had a lively crowd since LeBron came here," said Cheeks, referring to Cavs star power forward
. "Our challenge is trying to take the crowd out of the game early, get some easy transition baskets."
The Sixers are now 9-14.
Cavaliers officials distributed, for free, the imitation Wallace do to all fans. And when the Cavs jogged onto the court 15 minutes before tip-off they were rocking their teammate's trademark style.
Of note, though, was Wallace himself, who had his hair in cornrows.
On Wednesday, during a home loss to the Cavaliers, Cheeks removed small forward
from the starting lineup in favor of shooting guard
. Cheeks went with the same starting lineup last night. Sixers guard
was placed on the inactive list for the second consecutive game, his first two inactive games this season.
did not play because of the flu.
Gibson, who was averaging 9.4 points a game, is out for about two weeks after spraining his left big toe in the Cavs' win over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday. Also on the injured list for Cleveland was starting center
, who sprained his left ankle early in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's game. Ilgauskas is averaging 14.8 points and 7.6 rebounds a game.
- Kate Fagan