Sixers earn No. 6 spot, beat Cavs 111-110

April 15, 2009 8:45:01 PM PDT
LeBron James watched as the Cleveland Cavaliers couldn't quite make history. With their superstar, All-Star guard Mo Williams and other regulars resting for the playoffs, Cleveland lost for just the second time on their home floor this season, 111-110 in overtime Wednesday night to the Philadelphia 76ers.

That left the Cavs at 39 home wins - one shy of tying the 1985-86 Boston Celtics' all-time home record of 40-1.

Andre Miller scored 30 points and Andre Iguodala 24 for the Sixers, who snapped a six-game losing streak. Philadelphia earned the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, where it will meet the Orlando Magic.

Daniel Gibson scored 28 for the Cavaliers, the No. 1 overall seed. Cleveland will play Detroit in the first round.

The Cavs went into their finale with nothing to gain, so coach Mike Brown, not willing to risk any injuries, sat James, Williams, center Zydrunas Ilgauskas and forward Joe Smith. Delonte West and Anderson Varejao - Cleveland's two other starters - began the game but didn't play in the second half.

But even with their reserves, the Cavs gave the Sixers all they could handle.

Philadelphia, which trailed by 12 at halftime, rallied and led 98-95 with 4.4 seconds left in regulation on two free throws by Miller.

But with the Cavaliers' second home loss less than one tick away, Gibson swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie it at 98 with 0.6 seconds left. The Sixers quickly called time, and when Gibson ran to the other end of the floor, he was greeted by James, who slapped hands with his sharpshooting teammate.

Philadelphia couldn't get off a final shot before the horn, and as the teams were getting ready for overtime, James and Williams joined the Cavs' dance team in the center of the floor for an impromptu number.

But in overtime, Miller and Iguodala took turns scoring or getting to the foul line as the Sixers attempted 41 free throws to 12 for Cleveland.

Miller's two free throws made it 111-108 with 15.8 seconds before Gibson hit a layup to get the Cavs within a point. Miller was fouled, and Cleveland had new life when the former Cavs guard missed two free throws with 4.3 seconds left.

Gibson took an inbounds pass, but stumbled trying to make a cut and the clock expired before he could recover and get to his feet. Thaddeus Young added 20 points and Lou Williams 19 for the Sixers, who went 0-3 against the Magic during the regular season. Philadelphia center Samuel Dalembert strained his right shoulder in the first quarter and did not return.

Wally Szczerbiak scored 21 and Sasha Pavlovic 21 for the Cavs.

Despite the loss, the Cavs went 39-2 at Quicken Loans Arena, which will never be mistaken for the Boston Garden. But like the charming old building with its warped parquet floor, Cleveland's home court has become the league's toughest place to play for visitors.

The Q makes outsiders quake.

"It's electric," Brown said. "It's unfortunate our fans can't travel with us and see what it's like other places."

Beginning with a 96-79 win over Charlotte on Oct. 30, the Cavs reeled off 23 straight home wins before losing 101-91 on Feb. 8 to the Los Angeles Lakers - a team they hope to see again in the finals. Before the Sixers stopped them, the Cavs had won 17 in a row at home.

James finished what is expected to be an MVP season in dress clothes. He finished averaging 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists in 81 games - a career-high.

He sat on Cleveland's bench in a navy blue sport coat, plaid dress shirt, black jeans and white sneakers. Before the opening tip, James addressed the crowd and thanked the fans for their support throughout the greatest regular season in Cleveland history.

"We're going to bring y'all that championship," he said. Szczerbiak replaced James in the starting lineup and Varejao handled his pregame "dust-blowing" routine.

Notes: Cavs F Ben Wallace missed his second game with a strained tendon in his left knee. Wallace probably would have sat anyway, but his status remains unclear for the playoffs. ... Iguodala led the league in minutes played and minutes per game. ... Among his many achievements this season, James is just the fourth player to lead his team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals per game, while leading his team to at least 50 wins. The only other players are Larry Bird (1985-86), Grant Hill (1996-97) and Kevin Garnett (2002-03). ... During his pregame remarks, James addressed a sore spot with Cleveland fans, who have booed the Cavs when they've failed to hit 100 points - a total that wins the crowd a free food giveaway. "We want to bring you a championship," he said. "Not a taco."

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