Feb 28, 2011

Sixers enter the .500 Club

Jodie Meeks scored all of his 14 points in the second half, and Philadelphia held on late to top the Cleveland Cavaliers, 95-91, at Quicken Loans Arena.

Elton Brand and Lou Williams both finished with 16 points as the Sixers won their season-high fourth straight game. Jrue Holiday added 13 points while dishing out nine assists and Evan Turner added 10 points in a reserve role for Philadelphia, which is above .500 for the first time this season (30-29).

"Our bench gave us a huge lift," Brand said. "[Young] and Williams gave us a huge spark to overcome a 12-point deficit, they played with heart."

J.J. Hickson posted a game-high 22 points and 16 rebounds and Ramon Sessions added 20 points and 10 assists for Cleveland, which has dropped two of three. Antawn Jamison contributed 16 points but left the game late in the third quarter after breaking his left pinky finger.

Jamison was fouled while taking a shot with 1:26 remaining in the quarter, and immediately left the game and went to the locker room. Ryan Hollins entered the game for Jamison and made both free throws.

The Sixers took a 75-64 lead into the final stanza and widened it to as high as 82-70 before a late Cavs comeback. Hickson connected on a step back jumper at 8:13 to start a 11-2 Cleveland run, which was capped with Daniel Gibson's layup and three-point conversion at 4:18.

The Sixers quickly stretched their advantage to 91-82, but once again the Cavs surged and Gibson's three-pointer with 7.9 ticks remaining made it a 93-91 game.

Forced to foul, the Cavs sent Meeks to the line with 6.9 seconds remaining, he made both and Gibson's three at the buzzer was off target to end the game.

"We've been up and down," Cavs coach Byron Scott said. "We are trying to learn what it is like to be consistent on a nightly basis."

Despite trailing by as many as 12 in the first quarter, the Sixers ended the opening stanza on a 14-3 run to cut their deficit to 23-22 after the opening 12 minutes.

Philadelphia took the lead with a Turner turnaround basket just over the ten minute mark of the second, and after another Turner basket at 8:24 the Sixers lead was 32-27. The Cavaliers kept the game close down the stretch but after Iguodala made a pair from the line with 2.4 ticks remaining the Sixers lead was 49-43 entering the break.

Thaddeus Young paced Philadelphia with 12 points on 6-of-8 from the field in the first half.

Holiday and Meeks both posted nine points in the third quarter as Philadelphia shot an impressive 66.7 percent from the field. The Sixers widened their lead to as high as 15 in the quarter, and took a 75-64 lead into the final stanza.

Game Notes

Philadelphia has won 13 of their last 17 games and have gone 27-16 since a dismal 3-13 start...The Sixers are now 11-20 on the road this season and will return to Philadelphia for a three-game home stand...The Cavs are now 3-4 on an eight-game residency that will conclude with a visit from the Spurs on Wednesday...Cleveland is 8-21 at home this season...The teams split the season series 2-2...The Cavs had won 10 of the previous 12 meetings between these two clubs entering Sunday.

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