Six­ers held off by James, Cavs

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Aaron Bracy

The Cleve­land Cava­liers were pushed to the limit by the Philadel­phia 76ers, and LeBron James doesn’t think that’s such a bad thing.

James scored 25 points, mov­ing into 10th place on the NBA’s ca­reer list, and added 14 as­sists and eight re­bounds as the un­beaten Cava­liers held off the win­less 76ers 102-101 on Satur­day night.

“It’s al­ways great to have these kinds of games,” James said. “We will clean it up. It’s a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for us. I know we have room for im­prove­ment.”

Kevin Love added 20 points and 11 re­bounds for the reign­ing cham­pion Cava­liers, who im­proved to 6-0.

Coach Ty­ronn Lue wasn’t dis­ap­pointed, ei­ther, that the re­sult was so sur­pris­ingly close.

“We stayed poised,” Lue said. “We were tested tonight. Over­all, I’m pleased to come out with a win when we had some ad­ver­sity.”

Joel Em­biid scored 22 points, mak­ing all four of his 3-point at­tempts, but the 76ers dropped to 0-5.

James passed Hall of Famer Ha­keem Ola­ju­won by con­vert­ing a fast-break layup mid­way through the first quar­ter. Ola­ju­won fin­ished his ca­reer with 26,946 points.

It looked to be an easy night for the Cava­liers at that point. But the 76ers nearly shocked them.

Chan­ning Frye’s 3-pointer with 1:05 left gave the Cava­liers a 102101 lead.

After a turnover by Philadel­phia’s Ser­gio Ro­driguez, J.R. Smith missed a 3 with 15 sec­onds left that would’ve clinched it. Philadel­phia coach Brett Brown then called a time­out with 7.3 sec­onds re­main­ing. The 76ers were try­ing to get the ball to Em­biid, but they couldn’t and Ger­ald Hen­der­son turned the ball over as he tried to get a shot off in the fi­nal sec­onds.

Hen­der­son said a foul should’ve been called on the play.

“We tried to run some­thing to get it in to (Em­biid),” he said. “Time was run­ning down so I just took it my­self. I got fouled. They didn’t call it. And it’s the end of the game.”

Said Brown, “The tape will show what the tape shows. That’s ob­vi­ously a tough way to end a great game.”

James’ first at­tempt at pass­ing the record was an em­phatic, high­light-reel block by Em­biid about 3 ½ min­utes into the con­test. After two more misses, James quickly raced up the court for an easy layup to reach the mile­stone.

“It’s a bless­ing and an honor,” James said.

He is No. 12 in scor­ing on the com­bined ABA/ NBA list.

The 76ers re­mained one of three win­less teams in the NBA, along with Dal­las and New Or­leans. Philadel­phia opened last sea­son by ty­ing a league record with 18 straight losses.

Philadel­phia bat­tled back from an 18-point, first-half deficit.

Philadel­phia outscored Cleve­land 16-9 over the first 5:50 of the fi­nal quar­ter, tak­ing its big­gest lead on Hen­der­son’s short jumper that made it 96-91 with 6:10 re­main­ing. Smith’s 3-pointer with 2:50 left put Cleve­land back in front, 99-98. But Er­san Ilyasova an­swered with a 3-pointer 13 sec­onds later to give the 76ers a 101-99 ad­van­tage.

The Cava­liers used a 16-0 run to fin­ish the first quar­ter, help­ing them to a 34-19 lead. James played all 12 min­utes of the open­ing quar­ter, fin­ish­ing with six points, four re­bounds and seven as­sists.

The Cava­liers led 57-46 at halftime.

Not Their Months

The 76ers have lost their last 42 games in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber, dat­ing to an over­time win over Mil­wau­kee on Nov. 22, 2013.

Good Ad­di­tion

Ilyasova, play­ing in his sec­ond game for Philadel­phia after be­ing ac­quired on Tues­day from Ok­la­homa City for Jerami Grant, added 21 points.

Up Next

Cava­liers: Host At­lanta on Tues­day night.

76ers: Host Utah on Mon­day night.

“We tried to run some­thing to get it in to (Em­biid). Time was run­ning down so I just took it my­self. I got fouled. They didn’t call it. And it’s the end of the game.” — Six­ers’ Ger­ald Hen­der­son

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