Worried about a loss of momentum after the All-Star break, concerned about the absence of their energetic starting center, the Cavaliers opted to find new ways to win Tuesday night in a 114-85 thumping of the Philadelphia 76ers. They found Tyler Zeller early and relied upon the newly crowned starter to the point that he recorded a career-high in rebounds with 15, while adding 18 points. They actually stuck to coach Mike Brown's defensive principles – which now includes a more traditional pick-and-roll defense -- in holding the Sixers to 36-percent shooting, while thriving on the offensive end as seven Cavaliers scored in double digits. They jumped to an early lead over Philadelphia and held onto it throughout the game. The once-dysfunctional team found teamwork and cohesiveness so easily that guard Dion Waiters couldn't help but chuckle as he hobbled off the court late in the second quarter – immediately after he suffered a hyperextended left knee on a thunderous dunk that had given Cleveland a 21-point lead. And, perhaps most surprisingly, they continued to be one of the NBA's hottest teams in winning their fifth straight game. It's the longest winning streak since eight straight in 2010. The Sixers, meanwhile, dropped their ninth consecutive game. "Playing together and playing the way we've been playing, it kind of takes some of the stress off," Zeller said. "When we lost six in a row, it's stressful. None of us likes losing. So it's one of those things where it's nice to be able to win a few and hopefully keep the momentum going." Zeller led the Cavaliers with 18 points and 15 rebounds, while Anthony Bennett (10 points, 11 rebounds) and Tristan Thompson (12 points, 10 rebounds) also recorded double doubles.
Winning continues as Cavaliers log fifth straight, a 114-85 victory over Philadelphia
Cleveland Plain Dealer | Feb 19