NBA: 76ers put on a show for LeBron James in win over Cavaliers 108-97
J.J. Redick scored 22 points, Joel Embiid had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and the Philadelphia 76ers delivered an in-person sales pitch to LeBron James by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-97 on Thursday night to end an 11-game losing streak against the Eastern Conference champions.
Ben Simmons scored 18 and Dario Saric 16, including a critical three-pointer in the closing minutes, for the rising Sixers, who are 8-2 since Feb. 6.
James finished with 30 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Earlier this week, three billboards urging the three-time champion to sign as a free agent this summer with Philadelphia were unveiled on a busy highway outside Cleveland. James said he hadn’t seen the signs, which were paid for by a Pennsylvania company, but he was pleased that fans want him.
The Sixers gave him a glimpse of what he could be joining.
Philadelphia nearly blew a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter as the Cavs, who never led, got within 95-94 on Kyle Korver’s three-pointer with 2:25 left. But the young Sixers showed poise by scoring the next eight points to seal an impressive win.
Tempers flared in the closing seconds when Saric dunked and Cleveland’s Jordan Clarkson threw the ball off his back. Clarkson was ejected but that didn’t stop players from jawing at each other.
After the final horn, James walked to Philadelphia’s end of the floor and to hug both Simmons and Embiid, embraces that had to make Cleveland fans cringe.
Embiid sat out the Sixers’ previous visit to Cleveland on Dec. 9 because he wasn’t playing back-to-back games at that time.
The Cavs weren’t so lucky this time and struggled to defend the 7-footer, whose step-back jumper put the Sixers up 100-94 with 1:28 remaining.
The Cavs played without starting guard J.R. Smith, who was suspended one game by the team for detrimental conduct. Smith attended the team’s morning shootaround, but coach Tyronn Lue indicated something happened after the workout that led to the one-game ban. Lue expects Smith to practice Friday and play Saturday against Denver.
at Sacramento 116, Brooklyn 111: Bogdan Bogdanovic made a go-ahead short runner from the baseline with 1:06 left in overtime, then added a pair of free throws and the Sacramento Kings beat the Brooklyn Nets 116-111. The Kings blew a lead late in the fourth quarter but outscored the Nets 16-11 in the extra period to end a five-game losing streak.
at Portland 108, Minnesota 99: Damian Lillard scored 35 points after a slow start and the Trail Blazers rallied to beat the Timberwolves for their season-high fifth consecutive victory.
Lakers 131, at Miami 113
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