They finally have reason to believe that skid is about to end.
Coming off a 26-point rout to earn their first win, the 76ers look to stay hot Friday night by snapping their seven-game home losing streak to the Cavaliers, who are struggling to adjust to life without LeBron James(notes).
Philadelphia got off to a rough start in Doug Collins’ first year at the helm, losing its first four games and turning the ball over at least 19 times in three of them.
Collins left Wednesday’s game against Indiana at halftime after complaining of dizziness, but the 76ers were well on their way to their first victory. Philadelphia (1-4) shot 53.7 percent in building a 26-point halftime lead and didn’t let it slip away, limiting itself to 10 turnovers in a 101-75 victory with Collins watching from the locker room.
“Ten years ago I may have just went out in the second half, but I have recognized with this coaching staff there is no need to do that,” said Collins, who was diagnosed with vertigo over the summer but says he’ll be back Friday.
“When you’ve got a lead like that, the clock doesn’t move fast enough.”
Elton Brand(notes) led the way with season highs of 25 points and 12 rebounds, and he’s been the brightest spot for the 76ers. After averaging career lows of 13.1 points and 6.1 rebounds and often finding himself benched last season, Brand has looked rejuvenated and is averaging 18.0 points, 9.6 boards and a surprising 2.6 steals.
“He has been incredible,” Collins said.
While it took Philadelphia five games to pick up its first win, Cleveland hasn’t been able to match its opening-night victory over Boston. The Cavaliers have dropped their past three, falling 100-88 to Atlanta on Tuesday.
“We haven’t been fully healthy, and with this team, we need everyone,” Williams said. “We just have to regroup.”
Williams has averaged 18.3 points while leading the Cavaliers to a 6-0 record against the 76ers the past two seasons when he’s been in the lineup, and Cleveland has won seven straight in Philadelphia since a 116-107 loss Feb. 22, 2006.
But James was around for those victories, a luxury the Cavaliers (1-3) no longer have. Starting small forward Jamario Moon(notes) is averaging 6.3 points - 23.4 shy of what James gave them last season.
One positive for Cleveland has been J.J. Hickson(notes), who’s averaged a team-high 18.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 27.3 minutes. He scored a career-high 31 on Tuesday but was hardly celebrating after the loss.
“We have got to get back to the drawing board, see what we did wrong throughout the whole game … and get ready for Philly,” Hickson said.