PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Dorell Wright scored 15 points and Thaddeus Young had 14 points and nine rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to 91-77 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
Spencer Hawes and Jrue Holiday both scored 14 points for the Sixers. The Sixers raced to a 19-point lead in the first half and sent the Cavaliers to their fourth straight loss.
Tristan Thompson had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavaliers. Kevin Jones had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Kyrie Irving scored four points in 18 minutes.
The Sixers finished 23-18 at home in a season that has them at 33-47 and in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers won 35 games and a round in the playoffs in last year’s lockout-shortened season.
Hoping to build on that momentum, the Sixers broke up the nucleus of a team full of solid players and went big for a superstar. Instead of a deep playoff run, the Sixers have a date with the draft lottery.
The Andrew Bynum deal is already on the short list of worst trades in Philadelphia sports history. Bynum never played for the Sixers because of bone bruises in both knees. He stated time and again he would play this season, only to shut it down for good on March 18 and undergo season-ending arthroscopic surgery on both knees. Bynum earned $16.5 million this season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
“We’re really in a bit of a hole,” team adviser Julius Erving said. “It’s almost like starting all over.”
The Sixers had a season full of high expectations practically unravel on media day when they announced Bynum would not be ready for training camp.
“If we had Andrew, it’d be a completely different story,” forward Thaddeus Young said. “The team was built for him. We had shooters, we had ball handlers, we had guys who do the grunt work. We have Andrew in the mix, that’s easily 20-10.”
Bynum last talked to the media on March 1 and said he would not play in pain or be pressured into playing and risking a potential nine-figure payday.
Erving, a Hall of Famer and one of the 76ers’ greatest players, said the organization should be wary about getting back in business with Bynum.
“The net result is Robert Parrish’s old number: zero zero,” Erving said. “We have not benefited one degree. I guess he has.”
Dr. J added: “It’s going to be costly if the Bynum situation is one of total uncertainty for another year. I don’t think the organization should stand for that and I don’t think the fans are going to stand for that.”
Bynum’s contract is not the only major issue ahead for the Sixers. Coach Doug Collins has one more year on his contract, and he may not want to return for a fourth season to coach a team with little chance of success.
Collins has refused to discuss his future with the team, and said before the game he would only discuss the home finale because, “everything else is moot.”
Still, with the season down to the final days, Collins lamented how the Bynum deal backfired this season — and could have repercussions for years to come.
“I’d give (owner) Josh (Harris) and our organization a lot of credit, they swung for the fences,” Collins said. “Unfortunately, with Andrew getting hurt … it changed the whole dynamic of our season.”
The game was a matchup of potential lame-duck coaches. Cavaliers coach Byron Scott is on the hot seat with the team buried near the bottom of the East standings. Scott is under contract for next year after the club picked up his option for 2013-14 in October.
Scott has tried to not let the job speculation affect him.
“It really doesn’t bother me,” he said. “It’s part of the job. Whatever happens, happens.”
The Cavaliers missed 11 of their first 13 shots and finished at 31 percent in the first half. With the Cavaliers struggling, the Sixers stormed to a 16-3 lead and led 53-34 at the break. The Sixers never looked back and gave their fans one final reason to feel good heading into an uncertain offseason.
Notes: Erving and the rest of the 1983 NBA champion Sixers were honored at the halftime. The ’83 Sixers are the last team in franchise history to win a title. … Harris said the team would work hard to make next year “more exciting and better” for the fans.
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