Published: Sun, April 08, 2018
Sports | By Toni Houston

Sixers fend off Cavs to take 3rd in East

Sixers fend off Cavs to take 3rd in East

The Sixers might be better than was suspected by even those of us who knew they were a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference.

"We were all excited to be here in Philadelphia and play before an incredible crowd in such a big game", Brown said.

The Sixers, who already clinched their first playoff berth since 2012, won again for the fifth straight game without All-Star center Joel Embiid.

They've been eliminated from the playoffs - and haven't even won a postseason game in 10 years - and they traded away their first-round pick for Blake Griffin.

The Sixers led by as many as 30 points in the first half, and held an astounding 78-55 margin at the break.

"We just played our game, didn't let the hype bother us and we stuck together". While that's always a statement that will induce cringes those of us who spent our formative years with Michael Jordan posters hanging on our walls, it's an argument that can feel impossible to counter after displays such as the one The King put on in the second half against the Sixers.

James started yapping at the refs, the crowd howled as he complained, and the arena felt like a Game 7. You're trying to figure it and trying to stay sane. But he made just 1 of 3. He also delivered a team-leading eight assists. On Friday, the answer was 30, but did anyone come out of it thinking it wouldn't have needed to be higher if this was playoff time?

Warriors-Pacers, 1st Ld-Writethru,788
Bojan Bogdanovic shot a blistering 83 percent from the floor (11-of-13, including 6-of-7 from 3), finishing with 28 points. The Pacers ended any uncertainty after the Warriors closed to 97-87 with about 10 minutes left.

The Cavaliers mounted a furious comeback in the third and fourth quarters. His mentor, LeBron James, was a force as well, with 44 points, 11 boards, and 11 dimes himself, but it was Simmons and his squad that emerged with the upper hand.

"It's a real feeling", Brown said.

After a 132-130 win that went down to the wire and saw his Philadelphia 76ers surpass the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA's Eastern Conference standings Friday, Philadelphia's Ben Simmons used his Instagram account to show respect to the man widely regarded as the NBA's best player. Much of the damage has come by way of the three-ball, but Simmons got into the act with a monster dunk past LeBron. Cleveland's inept first half gave Philly just enough of a cushion to squeak out a win, and officially vaulted them past the Cavs in their neck-and-neck race for the third seed.

With the win, the Cavs stretched their streak to five games. With a glut of young talent and spacious room under the salary cap, Philadelphia has been frequently mentioned as a landing spot for James. The Sixers might give the Cavaliers problems on a number of levels, but the team has a head coach used to 60 losses a season and nearly nobody on the roster with postseason playing time. The Sixers have been tight-lipped on Embiid's progress other than to guess at a two-to-four week recovery.

"The building is going to be doing somersaults", Brown said before the game.

While the best case scenario is probably the Heat, anything is better than LeBron.

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