NBA Basketball: Cleveland at Philadelphia - Cleveland Favored
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The Cleveland Cavaliers are getting plenty of time against the Philadelphia 76ers to try and end their slump, and they hope LeBron James won't have to miss any of it.
After a grueling loss in which James was banged up, the Cavaliers look to capitalize this time against one of the NBA's worst teams when they visit the 76ers on Friday in the finale of a home-and-home series.
Despite getting a season-high 39 points from James, Cleveland (24-18) lost 118-115 in double overtime to Philadelphia (13-30) on Wednesday night.
James injured his right big toe during a recent West Coast road trip and aggravated it during Wednesday's game, but X-rays taken Thursday were negative. He didn't take part in Cleveland's light workout before the team flew to Philadelphia, but Cavaliers coach Mike Brown expects James to be in the lineup Friday.
That's good news for Cleveland, which has lost five of six.
"I'm a no-excuse guy," Brown said. "We've still got to win ballgames. Everybody faces tough stretches like this and somehow, someway we've got to dig down and find a way to win. We know we can play better than what we've played.
"You get tired of talking about it, you've just got to go out there and do it."
James had 13 of his points in the second overtime Wednesday en route to the best scoring game by a Cavaliers player against the 76ers since Campy Russell scored 38 in 1977.
James is averaging 30.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 2.3 steals while shooting 50.0 percent from the field in his career against Philadelphia, but Cleveland is just 5-7 in those contests.
He did struggle at the line Wednesday, going 8-for-13, and Cleveland is the NBA's worst free-throw shooting team at 68.5 percent. The Sixers, meanwhile, went 26-of-27 on their free throws with Andre Iguodala making all 12 of his attempts en route to a career-high 34 points.
"I've been making a conscious effort, since the summer, to work on my free throws," said Iguodala, who is shooting 83.9 percent from the line this season after a career-best 75.4 mark in 2005-06. "I shoot 60 free throws every practice, so when it comes down to them in games and you're tired, it's a huge factor."
Philadelphia is 8-18 since Allen Iverson last appeared in a Sixers' uniform and 8-12 since trading him to Denver. Two of the Sixers' last three wins have come in overtime.
Sixers center Samuel Dalembert added a season-high 20 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out in the second OT Wednesday. He is averaging 14.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in his last 10 games.
These teams have split their first two matchups this season - both in Cleveland - but the Cavs have lost 14 of their last 17 visits to Philadelphia.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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