Cavs fall short, lose seeding to Sixers

Philadelphia 76ers guard JJ Redick (17) shows his delight after scoring a basket during the 132-130 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was the 13th straight win for the Sixers, who have already clinched their first play-off berth since 2012.
Philadelphia 76ers guard JJ Redick (17) shows his delight after scoring a basket during the 132-130 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was the 13th straight win for the Sixers, who have already clinched their first play-off berth since 2012.PHOTO: REUTERS

PHILADELPHIA (Pennsylvania) • The Cavaliers had much to regret on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Centre, following a 132-130 National Basketball Association defeat by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Cleveland were trailing by 30 points in the second quarter but fought back to be down by only one with 12.4 seconds left in the fourth.

Had they emerged victorious, it would have been the greatest comeback this season - beating the 27-point deficit the Washington Wizards overcame against the New York Knicks on Feb 14.

But it was not to be. And despite star forward LeBron James' 44 points, the Cavs also lost their No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference play-off standings to the Sixers, further rubbing salt into their wounds.

"I mean, we dug ourselves that hole," James said after his 18th triple-double of the season which included 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

"So, we're a prideful team and the only way we get back into the game was just kind of get scrappy and play a little bit more physical, make some shots. But no, listen, we were down 30 and for us to come all the way back, it just shows what we're capable of doing."

Jeff Green scored 33 points and Kevin Love added 17 for Cleveland (49-31).

Philadelphia's Ben Simmons recorded his 12th triple-double of the season with 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists. JJ Redick scored 28 points, Marco Belinelli contributed 23 and Ersan Ilyasova had 17 for the surging Sixers (49-30), who won their 13th straight game for the first time since the 1984-85 season.

The Sixers have three games remaining while the Cavs have two in the battle for second seed, after the Toronto Raptors clinched top seed with a 92-73 rout of the Indiana Pacers.

"You got to go through whoever it is anyway," Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said, downplaying the significance of the implications if the Cavs stay at No. 4.

"The best team is going to win, so, play them first round, second round, third round, you still got to get through 'em, so it really doesn't matter."

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 08, 2018, with the headline 'Cavs fall short, lose seeding to Sixers'. Print Edition | Subscribe