Tuesday, October 21, 2008

LeBron can play; West back with Cavs

Philadelphia, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - Samuel Dalembert gets the night off and a blast from the past, Theo Ratliff got the start at center for the Sixers.

No surprise that LeBron had his way with Andre Iguodala and the Sixers early.

Meanwhile, ex-St. Joe's star Delonte West returned to Philly with the Cavs. West sat out 12 days earlier in the preseason with some personal problems that included depression and anger issues.

Elton Brand, who has been exceptional for most of the preseason, really struggled with Ben Wallace and was just 1-of-8 in the first half from the floor. He did pull down nine rebounds, however. Brand is not the kind of player who goes into a funk in other areas when his shot is not falling.

Most of the Sixers offense is coming from the bench in the first half. Willie Green and Lou Williams both had nine points to lead Philly, while rookie Marreese Speights continues to impress with seven points and four rebounds in about eight minutes of action in the first half.

LeBron's new playmate, former Bucks point guard Mo Williams, was spectacular in the opening half, compiling 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting and two assists.

In the battle for the Cavs shooting guard spot, Sasha Pavlovic got the start but Wally Szczerbiak played almost twice as many minutes after Sasha got in foul trouble.

Sixers were the worst three-point shooting team in basketball last season and brought in Kareem Rush and Donyell Marshall to rectify that. Rush was 0-fo-1 from long range in the first half and Marshall didn't get off the bench. Meanwhile, the Cavs hit six of their first seven from long range.

Philly dominated the third quarter as Iguodala rebounded and started to get a hot hand as did Andre Miller and Brand. E.B. had 12 points and 11 boards through three. Can you say Comeback Player of the Year?

As for LeBron -- How about 20, 8 and 4 through three.

Sixers couldn't buy a bucket down the stretch and the Cavs pulled away with James sitting safely on the bench. Daniel Gibson was the star of the game, netting 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-5 from long range. The Cabs were plus-17 in Gibson's 28 minutes on the floor.

The 76ers still can't shot, 0-for-9 from long range and outscored 24-0 from beyond the arc.

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