CLEVELAND — With a 108-97 victory Thursday night, the Sixers beat the Cavaliers for the first time since Jan. 5, 2015. That 11-game skid is over, as is their two-game losing streak on this road trip.
The Sixers put together a balanced team effort to overcome 30 points, nine rebounds and eight assists from LeBron James.
JJ Redick bounced back from missing the game-winning three attempt in Miami to lead the team with 21 points. Joel Embiid posted a 17-point, 14-rebound double-double while Ben Simmons neared a triple-double with 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
The game didn’t end quietly. Jordan Clarkson was ejected with 12 seconds remaining after throwing the ball off Dario Saric’s back after Saric connected at the basket. It appeared Clarkson took exception to Saric scoring with 12.2 seconds left and the game locked up when he could have just dribbled.
The Sixers improved to 33-27. The Cavaliers dropped to 36-25.
• Ersan Ilyasova made his second Sixers debut after signing with the team Wednesday. He came off the bench at power forward to post six points, two rebounds and two assists. There looked to be an easy adjustment for Ilyasova, who had played for the Sixers last season.
“I’d be happy if he just replicated what he did when he was here the first time,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said pregame. “He’s a wonderful teammate, he is a serious man, he is a prideful pro, and he can shoot.”
• James denied touring Philadelphia-area schools during the All-Star break on Thursday morning (see story), but that evening he created more buzz by wearing blue sneakers. Blue, of course, is one of the Sixers’ primary colors, not the Cavaliers (see story).
Simmons, who shares an agency with James, considered the high school rumors to be “random.”
“It was just funny because I mean he was on holiday and then he was at All-Star break,” Simmons said.
• Simmons said he aimed to improve across the box score from his previous games against James and the Cavaliers. Simmons was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for February shortly before the game.
• All of the Sixers’ starters scored in double digits, including Robert Covington with a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double. The Cavaliers didn't get much offensive help from their starters. Cedi Osman, Tristan Thompson and George Hill combined for 19 points. Rodney Hood scored 11.
• The Sixers committed 10 turnovers (12 points), well below their season average and a 180 from their recent missteps.
• Up next: The Sixers will return to Philadelphia after the game to host the Hornets Friday night. They remain undefeated at the Wells Fargo Center in 2018.