CLEVELAND – Here are my key takeaways and "best" and "worst" awards from the 76ers' 105-98 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Sixers can't get over the injury-bug blues. Small forward Robert Covington is the latest Sixer to join the injured list. He suffered a game-ending, lower-back contusion with 68 seconds left after falling on a metal object while trying to save the ball. Covington is not expected to play in Sunday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center.
The Sixers have something in Trevor Booker, who they've acquired Thursday in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets. The reserve power forward finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one block in his Sixers' debut.
Sixers coach Brett Brown was right about the Sixers playing out of character in lackluster losses to the Phoenix Suns on Monday and the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. The team showed their trademark grit against the Cavaliers. They nearly pulled off the upset despite playing without Joel Embiid and T.J. McConnell.
The Sixers squad, that was unable to close out games, made an appearance here in Cleveland. Ben Simmons' dunk with 4 minutes, 43 seconds remaining gave them a 96-91 lead. However, the Sixers went on to miss their final six shots and committed three turnovers while being outscored 14-2 the rest of the way.
The Sixers looked nothing like a team ranked 24th in the league in foul shooting. They made all 13 of their free throws against the Cavs.
‘Best’ and ‘Worst’ awards
Best performance: You have to give this to LeBron James. The Cavs perennial all-star posted his third triple-double of the season, finishing with game highs of 30 points, 13 assists and 13 rebounds to go with three steals. Yeah, he did turn the ball over six times. But who cares? James crushed the Sixers.
Worst performance: I had to give this to Jerryd Bayless. The Sixers reserve shooting guard couldn't make a field-goal attempt. He finished with two points after missing all six of his shots—including five three-pointers.
Best defensive performance: Covington gets this award. He looked like the RoCo of old, finishing with a game-high four steals.
Worst statistic: This goes to Bayless' shooting.
Best statistic: This goes to the Sixers' making all 13 of their foul shots.
Worst of the worst: I had to give this to the Sixers' performance in the final 4:06. Yes, the Cavs are a dominant team. But the Sixers fell totally apart.