CLEVELAND - Point guard Jeremy Pargo turned the ball over so much in the preseason, he almost found himself on 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 said he wasn't nervous replacing Irving.
"Those are big shoes to fill," Pargo said. "At the end of the day, it was still basketball."
Pargo, acquired in an under-the-radar offseason trade with Memphis, was making just the fifth NBA start of his two-year career. He made the most of the opportunity.
He connected on 11 of 19 shots from the field, including 4 of 8 from behind the 3-point arc. He added five rebounds, four assists and three turnovers in 39 minutes.
"I wanted to come out aggressive, play within myself and do whatever it took to win the game," Pargo said. "You don't want to come out and force things."
Sixers forward Thaddeus Young tipped his cap to Pargo.
"Pargo played the game of his life," Young said. "It was like playing a guy in a video game, like NBA 2K."
Sixers coach Doug Collins admitted Pargo was the difference in the game.
"He's tough, very tough," he said. "He is hungry. He wants that NBA paycheck."
The Sixers (7-5) had a three-game winning streak snapped. Their biggest problem was putting the ball in the basket. They were limited to just 36 percent from the field, 24 percent from the 3-point line.
"We challenged every shot," Cavs coach Byron Scott said. "(Our defense) was good. It can get better."
The Cavs were on fire from behind the 3-point arc, as they shot 56.5 percent (13 of 23). Swingman Alonzo Gee made 4 of 6 from behind the arc en route to 14 points, six rebounds, three blocks and a steal.
The Cavs (3-8) won for the first time since Nov. 5, when they defeated the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center.
The Cavs were dominant on the boards, 55-39, as center Anderson Varejao continued his season-long assault on the boards with a game-high 19 rebounds and 10 points.
Power forward Tristan Thompson, playing with a protective mask because of a nasal fracture, pulled down 11 rebounds. He couldn't find the basket, however, and made just 1 of 7 shots.
"It's hard to see out of it," he said.
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 since valuable reserve Daniel Gibson missed the game with a sore right elbow.
Guard Dion Waiters added 16 points and six assists for the Cavs. However, he made just 7 of 22 shots.
"He took a couple questionable shots," Scott said. "He can attack (the basket) a little more. He settles too much for taking jumpers. He can finish at the basket."
The Sixers had five players reach double figures in scoring, led by Jason Richardson and Jrue Holiday with 16 apiece.
Philadelphia had won six in a row over the Cavs.
Pargo had 13 points in the first half, as the Cavs jumped out to a 47-35 advantage.
"Opportunities presented itself," he said. "I did the best to help the team."
He didn't want to talk about his shaky preseason when he led the team in turnovers.
"I tried to put that out of my head," Pargo said. "I didn't play as well as I wanted in training camp."
NOTES: Scott said he doesn't envision changing his offensive game plan with Irving out of the lineup. "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." ... 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." ... Sixers center Andrew Bynum (right knee bone bruise) will be re-evaluated on Dec. 10.