CLEVELAND (AP)—Zydrunas Ilgauskas didn’t care who was or wasn’t wearing a 76ers’ jersey.
Four years between victories over Philadelphia was long enough.
Ilgauskas scored 28 points and had a key putback, assist and block in overtime as the Cavaliers snapped a 16-game losing streak against the Sixers with a 91-88 win Saturday night.
The 7-foot-3 Ilgauskas added eight rebounds and a career-high seven assists for the Cavs, who hadn’t beaten the undermanned Sixers since April 2, 1999, at Philadelphia.
“Every win is a good win for us,” Ilgauskas said. “We only won 17 games last year, so they’re all big. That’s a tough team to beat.”
Rookie LeBron James had 22 points, eight assists, five rebounds and a huge block with 11 seconds left in overtime for the Cavaliers, who won it with defense down the stretch.
With Cleveland clinging to 90-88 lead, James was caught by a pick in the lane but raced across the floor and swatted away rookie Kyle Korver’s jumper from the baseline.
“They used (Allen) Iverson as a decoy,” James said. “When Korver got it, I knew he was going to shoot and I just had one of my high school moments.”
Iverson, the NBA’s leading scorer, matched a season-low with 19 points on 8-of-29 shooting. After leading the Sixers to a win over the defending champion San Antonio Spurs on Friday, Iverson, who was hounded by Ricky Davis, just didn’t have it.
“If I have an off-night, I have an off-night,” Iverson said. “But I don’t do my teammates any favors if I quit trying. You have to keep fighting and hopefully something will happen at the end. That’s the way it nearly went.”
Marc Jackson had 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Sixers, who shot 34 percent. Snow was just 3-for-15 from the field.
Carlos Boozer, who had 15 points and 15 rebounds, opened the OT with a jumper and then scored on a dunk off a nice inside feed from Ilgauskas to put the Cavs up 88-84 with 2:47 left.
After John Salmons scored for Philly, the Cavs crashed the boards with Ilgauskas finally following in a miss underneath to make it 90-86.
Ilgauskas, who played the entire OT with five personal fouls, then blocked Salmons’ shot with 1:27 left.
“It was Z’s night,” Iverson said of Ilgauskas. “They ran their offense through him. He shot well and caused us problems with his passing, too.”
Aaron McKie’s two free throws pulled Philly to 90-88, but the Cavs survived the comeback with some stifling defense—a rarity for them in the early season—and just enough offense down the stretch.
“This is a huge win for us,” James said. “We didn’t buckle under pressure and we executed in overtime. That’s a big, big step for us.”
J.R. Bremer’s 3-pointer with 8:38 in regulation put the Cavaliers ahead 78-69, but the Sixers went on a 13-2 run capped by Iverson’s jumper to take their first lead—82-80.
James hit a jumper to tie it, but neither team scored in the final 3:18. Cleveland had the last chance in regulation, but Ilgauskas missed a fadeaway from the baseline with 1.2 seconds left.
James had an amazing dunk in the third quarter, sprinting downcourt and reaching almost above the backboard square to convert a lob pass from Davis.
Iverson made his first field-goal attempt, a layup, but then missed 11 of 12 shots as the Sixers fell behind 41-30 late in the second quarter before using a13-2 spurt to close within three at half.
Chris Mihm had a career-high six blocks, and Cleveland’s 17 rejections were its most since Nov. 27, 1991, against Philadelphia. … Cavs C DeSagana Diop did not play because of a foot injury. … If not for the injuries, the game would have featured four No. 1 overall draft picks—James (2003), Iverson(1996), Robinson (1994) and Coleman (1990).