76ers hold off LeBron, Cavs

Apr 09, 2018, 01:34
76ers hold off LeBron, Cavs

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, right, drives to the basket against Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons.

In one of the biggest games in recent Philadelphia history, the Sixers nearly squandered a 30-point lead, surviving a huge comeback from the Cleveland Cavaliers to squeak out a two-point victory, 132-130, a 13th win on the bounce.

Friday's win moved the 76ers a half-game ahead of the Cavs in the Eastern Conference playoff standings, as the Sixers and Cavs look to wrap up the regular season in the coming days. Jonathan Motley led the team in scoring with 26 points and 12 rebounds, Harrison Barnes added 17 points while Dorian Finney-Smith chipped in with 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

"I mean, we dug ourselves that hole", James said after his 18th triple-double of the season which included 11 rebounds and 11 assists. As a team, the 76ers shot 49 percent from the field and 14 of 39 from the three-point line as they dominated the first half to lead by 23 points going into the break before the Cavaliers stormed back in the second half. They won big, until they had to win small, and then they did that too - against a guy Brett Brown called pre-game "the best player to have ever played", and without our own best player in uniform.

Among the chaos, the free agency of LeBron James has been looming above the organization. "If you're down 30 in the postseason, that can lose you a series".

"We just played our game, didn't let the hype bother us and we stuck together". With a glut of young talent and spacious room under the salary cap, Philadelphia has been frequently mentioned as a landing spot for James.

Sixers' Twitter even seemed divided on how to handle James - boo him or woo him with kindness?

"It says, 'LeBron, we don't want you.' We don't want you, we don't need you".

Luckily for them, the Sixers finally caught up on offense.

The shoo-in for Rookie of the Year against the greatest player ever to play the game of basketball was the most dramatic part of it all, but there was so much more. "What I feel more than anything is there is a genuine excitement and belief that he will be back for us". The Cavaliers still have a chance to win it back, but with the Sixers' easy schedule finish, it may be hard for Cleveland to clinch the third seed.

"LeBron's the best of all time so I have to root for him obviously", said Mike Zazzera. They have three games left (Dallas, at Atlanta, Milwaukee) while the Cavs face the Knicks in NY on Monday and then at home for their season finale two days later.