PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Thaddeus Young had so much fun Tuesday night he wanted the game to last forever. It sure seemed that long for Cleveland coach Byron Scott.
Young had a season-high 26 points and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the struggling Cavaliers 117-97 on Tuesday night for their fourth win in five games.
“I definitely wanted it to keep going,” said Young, who is shooting 61 percent from the floor in his past nine games. “If it kept going, I get to 40 (points).”
Lou Williams scored 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter for Philadelphia, which placed seven players in double figures in its highest scoring output of the season. Jodie Meeks and Jrue Holiday had 16 points apiece, Andre Iguodala scored 13 and Elton Brand finished with 12.
All five of Philadelphia’s starters scored in double digits for the first time this season.
J.J. Hickson had 18 points for Cleveland, which has lost five consecutive games by an average of 22.2 points. Daniel Gibson scored 16 and Mo Williams added 15.
Young made 11 of 12 shots from the field and also had a season-high 11 rebounds as the Sixers bettered their previous scoring high set in a 123-116 loss to the Cavaliers on Nov. 3. He scored 17 of Philadelphia’s 66 first-half points, a team high for any half this season.
“I’m having a great time, having fun out there,” Young said.
Cleveland has dropped nine of 11 overall, surrendering at least 100 points in each of those losses. They entered with a five-game winning streak in the series against Philadelphia.
“I’m very disappointed with this whole road trip,” said Scott, who questioned the team’s effort. “We’re getting beat off the dribble like we’re not even there. Pride has to come into it. Guys go right down the lane for easy layups and nobody seems upset by it. Everybody has to do a lot of soul-searching.”
After a slow start, Philadelphia (7-14) found its shooting touch against one of the league’s worst defenses, shooting 26 of 46 from the floor and 11 of 15 from the free-throw line to build a 66-54 halftime lead.
Cleveland (7-14) stumbled in the third quarter and Spencer Hawes made a 3-pointer with 2:27 left to increase Philadelphia’s lead to 89-66.
A mini-rally helped the Cavaliers pull within 11 early in the fourth quarter on Gibson’s 3-pointer, but the Sixers responded with a 14-4 run to put the game away. Williams made six free throws during that key stretch.
“Lou was able to get to the line and really seal the game for us,” coach Doug Collins said. “It was a terrific win.”
Despite its lackluster record, the Sixers have been outscored by just 10 points this season, and have won five straight at the Wells Fargo Center.
“It’s very refreshing,” Young said. “Any time we can go out there and get four out of five victories, it’s big for the team. We need those wins that help us make a push for the playoffs and help get us in the mix for things.”
Collins said Young is an effective player when he stays within himself, and that means staying within the 3-point line.
“I told him that 3-point line is like the electric fence that you put in your yard with a dog,” Collins said. “You get across and it shocks you, so stay in front of it.”
Though he made a 3-point shot on Tuesday, Young agreed that long-range shooting isn’t his forte.
“Hey, I’m not living and dying by 3s,” Young said. “I’m trying to get to the basket and doing whatever the coach wants me to do. I know my strengths and my weaknesses. My weakness is shooting 3s, and I’m not going to shoot a lot of them.”
NOTES: With 10 points and 12 rebounds, Hawes recorded his first double-double of the season. … Meeks made his third straight start since replacing Evan Turner, the No. 2 overall pick, in the starting lineup. He scored a career-high 26 points on Dec. 4. … Cleveland has lost by 20 or more points six times this season.
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