PHILADELPHIA -- There are two ways you can look at the 76ers.
The optimist says they did a better job this time of defending Cleveland Cavaliers guard C.J. Miles. The pessimist says the Sixers looked uninterested in what was another blowout loss.
The Sixers faced a sizable deficit at the half, gave up easy baskets, were outhustled, and fell, 114-85, on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Things were so bad that the home crowd began booing the Sixers (15-40) midway through the third quarter. At one point, it appeared as if thefans were switching allegiance. They rooted for Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving as he made a move to the basket.
"I think there were some effort problems, no doubt. You can't hide from that," said coach Brett Brown, whose Sixers suffered their ninth consecutive setback and 19th in 22 games. "I think when you are losing games and you are at this stage of the year, there is a beat-down effect that we are trying to avoid."
It didn't happen on this night, as the Sixers also lost their eight straight game at home.
There were times when a Cavalier grabbed a rebound with three Sixers in better position to get the ball. There were also times when the Cavs (21-33) maneuvered around the Sixers as if they were mannequins.
"I want these guys to feel good about themselves," Brown said. "I want them to find a way to help themselves. I want to help them help themselves.
"And when you don't feel great about yourself, you see a bunch of problems I think are consequential. And my job going forward is to help them get better."
Cleveland extended its winning streak to five games. The Cavaliers also won the final three games of the four-game season series with the Sixers.
Cleveland center Tyler Zeller, who started in place of Anderson Varejao (sore back), finished with a season-high 18 points while making 6 of 7 foul shots. The 7-foot second-year player also had a career-high 15 rebounds in 25 minutes, 16 seconds.
Irving, the MVP of Sunday's All-Star Game, added 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting. Cleveland sixth man Dion Waiters and swingman Luol Deng finished with 13 apiece. Waiters left the game after hyperextending his left knee following a dunk late in the second quarter. The South Philadelphia native, who had about 50 supporters on hand, did not return.
"I thought I was done (for the season)," said Waiters, who received treatment in the locker room. "But I'm good."
Miles didn't come close to duplicating his performance against the Sixers on Jan. 7. Back then, the guard made 10 of 14 3-pointers to finish with 34 points. He set the Cavaliers record for made 3-pointers in a game. Miles tied the previous record in the first half with eight 3s. He made his first six 3-point shots.
On Tuesday night, Miles made 3 of 6 3-pointers to finish with 10 points.
Thaddeus Young and Michael Carter-Williams paced the Sixers with 15 points apiece. Carter-Williams, however, struggled. He made just 5 of 14 shots to go with seven turnovers and just one assist. Spencer Hawes also struggled, scoring two points on 1-for-6 shooting.
The Cavaliers led by as many as 34 points in the second half.
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