The tour of NBA contenders parading through the Wells Fargo Center continued Sunday evening as LeBron James on a show for a sizable crowd as the Cavs did what NBA Finals runners-up do to the Sixers, they handed them yet another loss, 95-85.
The Sixers (4-36) didn't back away from the challenge though, despite coughing up 19 turnovers for 29 Cleveland points they made the Cavs (26-9) earn it, holding them to 38.9 percent shooting from the field (32.7 percent in the first half -- the Sixers shot 50 percent to keep them in it).
In fact, Philly trailed by a single point at the midway point, 48-47 and only by six after three quarters.
In the fourth, an Ish Smith 3-pointer but the Cavs lead to two, 81-79 with eight minutes to go. By the two-minute mark Philly was on the ugly end of a 14-2 run and it was all but over.
"I think when I look at that stat sheet, and you look at the fact that they have 95 points," 76ers head coach Brett Brown said. "I thought we did a good job defensively. he had 37 points on 15-for-22 shooting. You're not going to get many wins when [LeBron] does something like that."
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There are really only three names one needs to know from the 2015-16 Sixers' roster -- twin towers Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, and point guard Ish Smith, whose role on the youthful squad is to give the big men the ball while drilling the occasional jump shot.
Smith produced, as he has during his recent stint (his second) with Philly, collecting 10 dimes to go with 18 points.
Okafor and Noel proved to be thorns in LeBron's side all game long, as Okafor led the Sixers with 21 points (adding seven boards) and Noel added 12 points of his own (and nine rebounds, 3 blocks).
James took the game over in the second half, lifting his struggling teammates. At one point ten minutes into the third quarter, Cleveland players not named LeBron were shooting 30.7 percent from the field. LeBron dished out nine assists and seven boards in addition to his 37 points.
"There's an intellect," Brown said, thoroughly impressed by James up close and personal. "If you are courtside you hear comments from him and you are blown away at the sophistocation and intellect of his conversations with others. It's at an incredibly high level.
"He is so gifted all over the place, but he is a very smart player."
The Sixers, not surprisingly, had no answer for one of the greatest players of all time, who after draining a three to put Cleveland ahead by twelve in the third quarter raised the roof, provoking the Sixers' faithful to boo wildly.
Even with yet another setback added to the 76ers embarrassingly dreadful record, the tough performance by the squad is one that will surely build confidence as the season continues.
"I think it helps anytime you can play against the standard," Brown said. "They are championship material. You weigh yourself up against the best. We came out of it, I think quite well. I was proud for the most part of our effort tonight."