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Cleveland Cavaliers drub Philadelphia 76ers for 8th win in row

By
Gordie Jones, The Sports Xchange
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) has words with head coach Tyronn Lue as guard Dwyane Wade (9) looks on. Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) has words with head coach Tyronn Lue as guard Dwyane Wade (9) looks on. Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI | License Photo

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia 76ers rookie sensation Ben Simmons said he regards Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James as a "big brother."

Certainly James and the Cavs put Simmons and his team in their place Monday night.

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James collected 30 points, 13 rebounds and six assists as Cleveland beat Philadelphia 113-91, the Cavs' eighth consecutive victory.

Joel Embiid countered with 30 points and 11 boards for the Sixers, who saw a three-game winning streak end. Simmons, however, managed just 10 points and eight rebounds before departing the game in the fourth quarter with a sprained right ankle.

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"It's not about me vs. Ben," James said. "It's always about the Cavs vs. 76ers, and that was our mindset coming into the game."

Simmons said before the game that he often seeks out James for advice. The two of them also talk basketball when they work out together in the summer.

"Away from that, (we discuss) just life," Simmons added.

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They hadn't talked about squaring off against one another, and Simmons downplayed any comparisons that might be made between the two of them.

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"It's nothing close," he said. "He's a Hall of Famer, if not the greatest to ever play the game. ... You shouldn't compare me to somebody like that. Not yet."

James is content, however, to mentor the younger man.

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"I'm honored a young, gifted kid like himself would allow me to be part of his life and mentor him and be like a big brother to him," he said. "I'm honored to do that and will continue to do that as long as he would like me to."

James poured in 15 points in the first six minutes of the game and 22 in the first half as the Cavs built a 53-45 lead.

"My teammates always say set the tone early," he said. "It starts with me and then trickles down to everybody else."

Dwyane Wade added 15 points off the bench for the Cavs, and Cleveland (13-7) enjoyed a 57-30 advantage in bench scoring.

The Cavs also limited the Sixers (11-8) to 37.5 percent shooting, including 3-for-28 3-point accuracy.

Cleveland shot 48.2 percent, including 40.5 percent (15 of 37) from the arc.

"We didn't play well on either side of the ball," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "We give them credit, but we go away feeling like this is not who we are."

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Brown dismissed his team's errant long-range shooting as being "one of those nights" and insisted his players will learn from the loss. Embiid agreed.

"I hate losing," he said, "but I think that's actually good we got our (butts) kicked, so we can go back, learn and know that we can't take any days off. We can't feel comfortable, and we've just got to keep working hard and keep getting better."

Philadelphia, down by as many as 13 in the first half, closed the gap to 72-69 on Embiid's basket with 3:06 left in the third quarter. Cleveland scored 14 of the game's next 16 points, four of those by Jeff Green, to take command at 86-71.

The Cavs extended their lead to as many as 29 in the fourth quarter.

"We're just trying to get better each day, each game," Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. "We're finally figuring out who we are. We're getting better defensively and offensively we're sharing the ball."

Green, who also came off the bench, finished with 14 points. Kevin Love had 13 and another sub, Channing Frye, had 12.

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Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot had 12 points for the Sixers, while J.J. Redick and T.J. McConnell had 11 each.

NOTES: Sixers F Robert Covington missed all nine of his 3-point attempts and went 1 of 11 from the field while finishing with two points. ... Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue reacted strongly to news of the Memphis Grizzlies firing of coach David Fizdale, a friend of his. "It's not right," Lue said, pointing out that the Grizzlies have been without injured PG Mike Conley for an extended stretch. "But I'm sure he'll bounce back and he'll be great, because he's a great coach. If he needs anything from me, he knows he can get it." ... The Sixers were without G/F Justin Anderson (shin splints) and G/F Nik Stauskas (ankle), while the Cavs were without F Tristan Thompson (calf). ... Philadelphia also continues to be without G Markelle Fultz, the first overall pick in this year's draft. He has missed the last 15 games with a shoulder injury. ... Cleveland G Derrick Rose departed the team last week for personal reasons. There is no timetable for his return.

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