Philadelphia beat Washington by an average of 11.3 points per game in sweeping the four meetings last season.
However, Washington appears to be an improved team this season. The Wizards are .500 after their first six games, and are tied with the Boston Celtics for first place in the thus far mediocre Atlantic Division.
Rookie Jarvis Hayes and Gilbert Arenas scored 22 points each and Larry Hughes added 20 to pace the Wizards, who were within 81-78 with 9:00 minutes remaining before the Cavs used a 13-2 burst to blow the game open.
Arenas scored 11 points in the first half but was benched for the entire third quarter by Wizards coach Eddie Jordan, who may have been upset with his player for throwing the ball into the stands at halftime.
Jordan said the benching was for “disciplinary” reasons.
“Things have to be taught,” Jordan said. “Part of the maturity process is learning how to behave.”
Philadelphia failed in its third chance to win consecutive games for the first time this season Sunday, suffering an 85-74 home loss to the Indiana Pacers.
The Sixers had a five-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but were held scoreless in the first six minutes of the fourth and managed only 10 points in the period.
“Once we got the lead, we kind of relaxed a little bit,” Iverson said. “We didn’t keep fighting. We didn’t try to finish the game.”
STANDINGS (through Nov. 9): 76ers - 3rd place (tied), 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division. Wizards - 1st place (tied), Atlantic Division.
2002-03 SEASON SERIES: 76ers, 4-0.
LAST MEETING: April 16; 76ers, 107-87. At Philadelphia, Iverson scored 35 points as the Sixers clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Michael Jordan finished with 15 points, four rebounds and four assists for Washington in the final game of his NBA career.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: 76ers - 2-2 on the road; Wizards - 2-1 at home.