CLEVELAND - Point guard Jeremy Pargo turned the ball over so much in the preseason, he almost found himself in the unemployment line.
Eleven games into the regular season, however, he found himself in the Cavaliers' starting lineup. Pargo responded with a career-high 28 points in the Cavs' 92-83 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.
It snapped a six-game losing streak for the Cavs (3-8), playing for the first time this season without leading scorer Kyrie Irving. Irving will miss an estimated four weeks with a hairline fracture of his left index finger.
Pargo, acquired in an offseason trade with Memphis, was making just the fifth NBA start of his two-year career. He made the most of the opportunity.
The 6-foot-2, 219-pounder showed the propensity to score, much like his much-traveled older brother, Jannero. Pargo made 11 of 19 shots from the field, and added five rebounds and four assists.
The Sixers (7-5) had won three games in a row before running into the Cavs. Philadelphia shot just 36 percent from the field, 24 percent from the 3-point line. The 36 percent tied a season low for a Cavs' opponent this year.
The Cavs shot a scorching 57 percent from long range, as they connected on 13 of 23 shots from the 3-point arc. Swingman Alonzo Gee made 4 of 6 from behind the arc en route to 14 points and six rebounds.
The Cavs won for the first time since Nov. 5 at the Staples Center against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Cavs demolished the Sixers on the boards, 55-39. Cavs center Anderson Varejao continued his season-long prowess with a game-high 19 rebounds and 10 points.
Power forward Tristan Thompson, playing with a protective mask, pulled down 11 rebounds. He couldn't find the basket, however, and made just 1 of 7 shots.
Swingman C.J. Miles, fighting through a shooting slump, came off the bench to score a season-high 13 points. He made 3 of 4 from long range. That came in handy on Wednesday with Daniel Gibson out with a sore elbow.
Guard Dion Waiters added 16 points and six assists for the Cavs.
The Sixers had trouble getting anything going offensively. They did have five players in double figures, led by Jason Richardson and Jrue Holiday with 16 apiece.
Philadelphia had won six in a row over the Cavs.
The Cavs seemed to be running the offense through Pargo in the first half. He led all scorers with 13 points, as the Cavs sped out to a 47-35 advantage at halftime.
The key to the first half was the Cavs' suffocating defense. They held the Sixers to 26.7 percent shooting from the field. They made just 12 of 45 shots.
Forward Thaddeus Young managed seven points in the first half for the Sixers. Holiday, the Sixers' leading scorer at 18.6 points per game, made just 1 of 7 shots for five points.
Varejao battled for eight points and eight rebounds in the first half. Thompson, wearing a protective mask after suffering from a nasal fracture, missed all five shots from the field. He did pull down eight rebounds. The Cavs had a 33-23 halftime edge on the boards.
The Cavs' strong defense has never been more evident than in the first quarter when they jumped out to a 28-15 lead. They held the Sixers to 16.7 percent shooting from the field.
Pargo had seven points, including a 3-pointer, and one assist in the opening quarter. Small forward Alonzo Gee buried two 3-pointers in the first quarter.
Sixers guard Nick Young had a team-high four points in the first quarter.
NOTES: Kyrie Irving wasn't the only guard the Cavs were missing on Wednesday. Valuable shooting guard Daniel Gibson was a late scratch with a sore right elbow. ... Cavs coach Byron Scott said he doesn't envision changing his offensive game plan with Irving out of the lineup. Irving's hairline fracture of his left index finger will sideline him for four weeks. "It takes away a big-time threat," Scott said. "We have to move the ball even more. We want to still get up and down the floor. We will look to attack." Scott has decided to start Jeremy Pargo at point guard. His other options for the starting lineup were Donald Sloan and rookie Dion Waiters. ... Scott said Waiters is averaging 29 minutes per game. That will be bumped up to 34 or 35 a night. ... Sixers coach Doug Collins hated to see Irving miss the game. "I hate it because I've got personal interest in Kyrie," he said. "My son (Chris) recruited him to Duke, so there's a family bond there. I hate to see anybody get hurt. Kyrie's such a brilliant young player. He's had some freak things with the hand and the finger and some different things." ... Waiters' field-goal percentage has dipped to 38.8 percent from the field (before Tuesday). He's made just nine of his last 45 shots. ... Thompson has been getting his shot blocked with increased regularity around the basket. He has the tendency to get the ball in the paint, bring it down to gather himself, and then take a shot. ... Sixers center Andrew Bynum (right knee bone bruise) will be re-evaluated on Dec. 10. ... Sixers guard Jason Richardson had his head stepped on in the Toronto game on Tuesday, but he's fine. ... Both Thompson and Tyler Zeller are wearing protective masks in tonight's game.