Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Daniel Gibson scored 17 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, while Anderson Varejao added 23 points and 12 rebounds to help the Cavaliers win their eighth straight game in Philadelphia, 123-116.
Mo Williams notched 22 points to go with seven assists, and J.J. Hickson donated 16 points and eight caroms for Cleveland, which had lost three straight since a season-opening win over Boston.
"Obviously we had some guys that played really big. Andy was fantastic," Cavs head coach Byron Scott said of Varejao, who was 10-for-10 from the field. "That’s a great win for us especially on the road. I thought we showed great character."
Jrue Holiday scored a career-high 29 points and handed out eight assists for Philadelphia, which erased a 19-point first half deficit and led by eight in the final quarter before faltering down the stretch.
The Sixers, losers in five of six to start the year, also lost the versatile Andre Iguodala to a strained right Achilles tendon.
Holiday sparked the Sixers’ comeback in the third quarter, scoring 13 points by hitting all three of his attempts from behind the arc.
Andres Nocioni gave the hosts their first lead, 72-71, with a three-pointer near the midway point, and buckets by Tony Battie and Lou Williams resulted in an 84-79 Sixers advantage with a quarter to play.
Philly played front-runner until Gibson’s personal 8-0 run between 4:42 and 3:25 of the final stanza. The reserve guard ended the flurry by putting in a layup after a Nocioni missed three to give Cleveland a 103-102 lead.
It was still a one-point Cavs lead, 106-105, before Varejao’s reverse slam with 2:24 to play. After Lou Williams fumbled a pass out-of-bounds, Mo Williams drained two at the foul line for a 110-105 edge with 2:04 showing.
A shot clock violation gave the ball back to the visitors, and Mo Williams laid in an easy layup to finish the game-sealing 17-3 burst.
Cleveland ended up shooting 13-of-17 from the field and 17-of-23 from the foul line in its 44-point fourth quarter.
"We had the lead and we are supposed to hold onto that lead and feel good after this. It is very disappointing," Sixers forward Elton Brand said. "We are still a young squad at certain positions. We are growing and learning from everything."
Shots were easy to come by for the Cavs to start the game, as they jumped out to an 8-0 lead and ended 13-of-24 from the field in the opening 12 minutes en route to a 34-20 cushion.
The margin reached as high as 50-31 following a Joey Graham dunk four minutes into the second frame and stayed in double digits until Battie made a jumper in the final minute for a 61-53 game at the break.
Cavs forward Antawn Jamison missed a second straight game due to a sore knee…Cleveland shot 38-of-48 at the foul line, compared to an 18-of-25 effort by the Sixers…The Cavs won the battle on the glass, 41-30…Battie, who played a total of 28 minutes in the first five games, played 27 minutes, scored eight points and grabbed seven boards…Brand and Lou Williams scored 20 and 16 points, respectively, for the Sixers, who got 15 points from Nocioni…Sixers head coach Doug Collins saw the game to its fruition after leaving Wednesday’s game at halftime due to symptoms of vertigo.
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