Cavaliers edge Sixers
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Larry Hughes scored 22 points as the
Cleveland Cavaliers edged the Philadelphia 76ers, 98-92, at the Wachovia
LeBron James scored 18 points and dished out six assists while Zydrunas
Ilgauskas had 14 points and eight rebounds for the Cavaliers, who moved into a
tie with idle Chicago for the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The
Bulls, however, own the tiebreaker with the Cleveland and will secure the No.
2 spot if both teams finish the regular season tied.
The Cavs will conclude their regular season Wednesday against Milwaukee, while
Chicago will square off against the Nets in New Jersey.
“Tonight was a big game for us because it gave us the opportunity to try and
get that number two spot,” said Cleveland head coach Mike Brown. “Milwaukee is
not going to lie down for us. It’s going to be a tough game at home and we
have to come in with the right mind frame to get a win tomorrow night.”
Willie Green scored 24 points and Joe Smith had 17 points and 13 rebounds off
the bench for the Sixers, who finished with a home record of 21-20.
“I thought for us, we played like we played the second half of the season,”
said Philadelphia head coach Maurice Cheeks. “We went out and we competed and
that’s pretty much all we can ask for. The guys that we put out on the floor
were giving all they got.”
Philadelphia, who will miss the playoffs for the third time in the last four
seasons, will conclude its season in Toronto on Wednesday.
Nursing a 75-70 heading into the fourth, the Cavs opened the quarter with a
12-4 spurt to take control of the game. The run featured threes by Hughes and
Donyell Marshall and was capped by a Hughes jumper that made it 88-74
Cleveland early in the fourth.
A Smith layup and a Green trey brought Philadelphia within seven, 92-85, with
just under two minutes to play, but Hughes and Ilgauskas answered with back-
to-back baskets to push the Cleveland lead back up to 11. A Louis Williams’
trey at the buzzer accounted for the final margin.
Cleveland led 26-25 after the opening 12 minutes and carried a 58-50 lead into
the locker room at halftime.
“Tomorrow we just have to take care of business and then we’ll see what
happens,” said James. “We’re really confident. We believe we can beat anyone
no matter who we match up against. Defensively, we’re one of the best teams in
the NBA so that’s not a problem. ”
Williams finished with 13 points and seven assists for the Sixers, while
rookie Bobby Jones also scored 13 points…Cleveland won three of four against
Philadelphia this season.