Cavs' Reserves Can't Hold off Sixers

Johnny RussoContributor IApril 16, 2009

With the 2009 NBA playoffs starting this Saturday, Mike Brown decided that having fresh bodies was more important than tying the 86' Celtics for the best home court record for a regular season.

Those who were given the night off were LeBron James, Mo Williams, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Joe Smith.

Despite having just two of the normal starting five playing, they were able to give Philadelphia a battle before falling in overtime, 111-110. 

With the loss, Cleveland falls to 39-2 at home this season, which is just one win away from tying the 40 win home record that the Boston Celtics set in the 1985-86 season.

But Cleveland's eyes are set on their No. 1 goal—an NBA Championship. 

"We had a terrific regular season," said Brown. "Our fans were great. The city has been terrific the entire year and we'll see what happens come playoff time."

Philadelphia needed to win Wednesday's game to clinch the sixth playoff seed and avoid playing Boston in the first round. They played all of their starters and ran their rotation as usual, but they may have underestimated the depth of the Cavaliers. 

"It just shows how good our team is," said Wally Szczerbiak. "We have guys who don't even see the floor and when they get a chance to show what they can do, they are pretty darn good basketball players."

Wally logged in 43 minutes, which was much more than expected for a meaningless game. He finished with 21 points, eight assists, and eight rebounds.

Daniel Gibson led the team with 28 points, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer to send the game to overtime. 

"It (game-tying three) felt great," said Gibson. " I felt like that was going to put us over the top and help us win the game. But once again, I'm just proud of the way we competed. It hurts that we didn't win, but I look forward to the post season now."

Andre Miller led the Sixers with 30 points and eight assists. Andre Iguodala added 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

The Sixers reach .500 with the win and finish 41-41 on the season. They will face a very tough Orlando Magic (59-23) team in the opening round of the playoffs.

Cleveland finishes their most successful regular season in franchise history with a record of 66-16. They must now put the past 82 games behind them and focus on the playoffs. 

The Cavs drew the Detroit Pistons (39-43) in the first round who have "underachieved" all season.

There has been some bad blood between the two teams in the past and they are both very familiar with each others' style of play.

Unlike their past playoff matchups, this Cleveland team is well-equipped and is more hungry than ever, while Detroit is fading away as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. 

It's playoff time Cleveland! GET PUMPED!


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