The Cleveland Cavaliers opened their doors to the Philadelphia 76’s on Saturday December 9. They found their way into the win-column with a final score of 105-98. The Cavs are fresh off of their first loss in 14 trips to the hardwood, which was suffered at the hands of the Indiana Pacers. The Cavs had a chance to rest Kevin Love, who had hip soreness, because the sixers did not play big man Joel Embiid.
The Cavs shot 20 percent from the field through the first five minutes. JR Smith and Jose Calderon both respectively botched ally-oop plays. Passing Lanes were missed and they were being lazy on defense. Midway through the first, Lebron took over a few possessions and inspired the team to correct their issues. They finished the first quarter shooting 48.5 percent.
The team appeared much more comfortable in the second quarter. Iso-ball subsided for well ran plays. Much of this comes from Calderon/Wade substitutions. Calderon struggles as a floor general at times, particularly next to Smith at shooting guard. Wade’s game IQ and experience help him to make plays that Calderon often doesn’t see. Korver’s sharpshooting and off the ball movement lend to Wade’s game as they often appear off the bench together.
The 76’s remained in the fight, going punch for punch with Cleveland. They matched Cleveland in FG% at 46 percent, but their 3pt percentage of 26 percent was the difference next to the Cav’s 46 percent. The first half ended 52-46 in favor of Cleveland.
Through the third half, the teams shared a shooting percentage of 48 percent. Neither team made a push through three quarters to separate from the other, which made for some clutch time drama in the final stretch. With ten minutes remaining in the final quarter, the game was tied at 81. Philadelphia took the lead by three and maintained that difference until a pair of James assisted three-point baskets brought the Cavs back within one with 5:27 left to play. At 3:40, Kyle Korver took the lead with a 3pt from a James dime. After an out-of-bounds by Phila, Lebron fed Wade for another spectacular ally-oop assist. Lebron was looking for another dagger 3pt like he has shown off in recent outings, but he went just 1-4 from that range. He did assist on a dagger 3pt shot for Jae Crowder, however.
James finished with a trouble double, 30 points, 13 assists, 13 rebounds. Dwayne Wade had 13 points in his rock-solid bench role. Look for the Cavs to be in action again Tuesday December 12 against Atlanta.