James had 30 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists to help the Cavaliers bounce back from a loss in Indiana on Friday night that ended their 13-game winning streak. The Cavaliers didn't arrive in Cleveland until 4.a.m. after their flight from Indianapolis was delayed. Cleveland surged ahead after falling behind 18-7 and built a double-figure lead in the second and third quarters, but trailed again in the fourth.
"This is a big win for us," James said. "After everything that we went through last night, your whole day is kind of just screwed up. For us to come out here and be professionals — nobody's going to feel sorry for you — everyone just gave what they had and we were very resilient, have a lot of resolve."
In what has become almost a nightly occurrence, James took over with the game on the line, scoring or assisting on Cleveland's last 22 points. "I started the game 3 for 11, was missing some chippies," he said. "I don't need to score to be productive and to help win a game. I just stay with it. That's a crazy stat, though. I didn't know that, that's for sure."
"He went 9 for 23 with six turnovers, but he is still that good where he puts his thumbprint on the game the way he did," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "He's very unique." Sixers forward Robert Covington fell into Cleveland's bench trying to save a loose ball with just over a minute to play. He landed on the metal flooring behind the bench and was down for a couple of minutes before being helped to his feet and to the locker room.
Covington was being treated in the trainer's room following the game. Brown said he injured his lower back and right hip. A timeout was called following the play and it took a few moments before anyone realized Covington was injured.
"I was just shocked because I didn't know he went down," 76ers rookie Ben Simmons said. "I just spoke with him and hopefully he'll be all right." Asked if Covington will play Sunday against New Orleans, Brown said, "I can't assume anything, but it would seem like he's a no-go."
Simmons' breakaway dunk gave Philadelphia a 96-91 lead, but the Cavaliers ended the game on a 14-2 run. James converted a three-point play and Kyle Korver hit a 3-pointer, giving Cleveland the lead. Dwyane Wade added two baskets and Jae Crowder's 3-pointer put the Cavaliers ahead 104-98.
Covington and J.J. Redick scored 19 points each for Philadelphia. Both starting centers missed the game. Joel Embiid sat out for Philadelphia because he hasn't been cleared to play on back-to-back nights and Kevin Love didn't play because of a sore left hip.
Wade, Korver and Crowder each scored 13 points for Cleveland. Simmons had 14 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists for the Sixers. Sixers forward Dario Saric, who scored 17 points, wore goggles because a left eye laceration and a corneal abrasion of his right eye.
BIG MAN BREAK Brown said Embiid, who is averaging 23.5 points and 11.1 rebounds, will play Sunday against the Pelicans. "It's disappointing that Cleveland fans aren't going to be able to see a very unique player," Brown said before the game. Philadelphia plays again in Cleveland on March 1.
TIP-INS 76ers: Rookie G Markelle Fultz is no longer experiencing soreness in his right shoulder. The No. 1 overall draft pick, who has only played in four games, will increase his on-court workouts over the next three weeks. ... G T.J. McConnell (sprained AC joint in left shoulder) was also out. ... G Justin Anderson (left shin splints) will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Cavaliers: Isaiah Thomas (sore right hip) played 4-on-4 Wednesday, but it's still unclear when he'll make his debut with the team. The Cavaliers are expected to practice Monday ... C Tristian Thompson (strained left calf) experienced soreness after scrimmaging and missed his 19th straight game. He was injured Nov. 1. .
UP NEXT 76ers: At New Orleans on Sunday night. Cavaliers: Host Atlanta on Tuesday night.
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