This time, it wasn’t LeBron James.
The defending champion Cavaliers are one of the deepest teams in the NBA, and on Sunday a star player not named LeBron took over.
Kyrie Irving scored 19 points in a pivotal fourth quarter to propel the Cavs to a 112-108 comeback win. He finished with a season-high 39 points.
How it happened
The Sixers jumped out to an early 10-point lead, as the Cavs began 0 for 14 from the floor. James scored Cleveland's first field goal with 5:10 into the game.
The Sixers stretched their lead to 14 midway through the second quarter. The Cavs ended the quarter on a 9-2 run to cut the difference to six points at halftime.
In the third quarter, where they have struggled, the Sixers maintained a four-point lead even after the Cavs cut it to two.
The final 12 minutes, however, was ruled by the Cavs. Even though the Sixers got within five points with a minute to go, they had fallen too far behind. The Cavs outscored the Sixers, 35-27, in the fourth.
Inside the box score
James may not have been the leading scorer, but he put together a 26-point, 10-rebound, 13 assist triple-double (third of the season). He committed five turnovers.
Joel Embiid scored 22 points (8 for 18 from the field, 3 for 4 from three), nine rebounds, four assists, three blocks and three turnovers in 1:11 over his 24-minute restriction.
Jahlil Okafor had one of his better games off the bench this season with 14 points (7 for 11 from the floor) and a season-high nine rebounds in 23 minutes.
Kevin Love recorded a 25-point, 11-rebound double-double. He went 9 for 9 from the line.
JR Smith (0 for 11 from the field, 0 for 7 from three) was scoreless in over 38 minutes.
The Sixers shot 15 for 34 from three while the Cavs went 12 for 40.
Jerryd Bayless was out with left wrist soreness and Sergio Rodriguez got the start. Bayless had felt the discomfort during Friday’s game. He had missed the first 13 games of the season with the injury, which he suffered during training camp. … Iman Shumpert was out for the Cavs because of a left hamstring strain.
War of words
In the first quarter, Embiid scored aggressively over Richard Jefferson and drew the hard foul. The veteran took exception to the rookie and exchanged words after the call (see video).
The Sixers travel to Toronto after the game to play the Raptors (10-6) Monday night. Embiid will not make the trip with the team (rest).