Reporting Daryl Ruiter
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – These are the dog days of the season for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
They aren’t even limping to the finish line, they’re simply begging for it to get here soon.
Evan Turner scored 23 points to go with 13 rebounds and 4 assists as the Philadelphia 76ers handed the Cavaliers their 7th straight defeat 97-87 in front of a mostly quiet crowd of 17,324 Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
Jrue Holiday added 20, Thaddeus Young scored 18 and Spencer Hawes threw in 16 more to go with 11 rebounds in the win for Philadelphia.
Cleveland, which is riding their longest slide of the season, has lost 11 of their last 13 to plummet to 22-49 with 11 more games to play.
“The first thing we have to do as a team is continue to stick together,” coach Byron Scott said. “This is a big-time test because we’re going through some adversity as far as losing and it’s going to test the type of character we have in that locker room. We’re going to see if guys head south, north or wherever.”
Scott insists the Cavaliers haven’t thrown in the towel or given up while adding they need 6 or 7 guys “playing well” to win which hasn’t happened for a full 48 minutes in a long time.
“It’s a little different than knowing so,” Scott said. “I’ve seen it in spurts. I know if I can see it for spurts, then there’s a possibility for doing it for 48 minutes.”
Once again the Cavaliers, who led after 1 24-19, started off well before the bottom fell out in the second half.
Shaun Livingston tried to wake up the crowd with a dunk and layup that put the Cavaliers up 41-31 with 3:37 to play in the first half but the 76ers closed the quarter with a 14-4 run to head to the locker room even at 45.
Cleveland came out of the locker room comatose once again as the 76ers outscored them 32-21 in the period and at one point made 13 straight field goals. Evan Turner scored 13 points in the quarter as Philadelphia went to the 4th leading by double digits.
The Cavaliers climbed to within 78-74 early in the fourth before Turner hit a 3-pointer and a jumper to push the lead back to 9.
Tristan Thompson struggled in the first half shooting 3-10 from the floor. He finished 4-of-11 and scored 10 points.
“It’s our seventh loss in a row and we should have won about 3 of those,” Thompson said. “It’s definitely frustrating, but we have to keep our heads up and stay together.”
C.J. Miles led 5 Cavaliers in double figures by scoring 19 off the bench.
Tyler Zeller was one of the few other bright spots for Cleveland scoring 14 points to go with 10 rebounds and 3 assists.