Cavs Looks to Nix 76ers

Cleveland, OH - The Cleveland Cavaliers finished the first half of their season looking sluggish, but LeBron James isn't too concerned.

The Cavaliers try to snap out of their recent funk when they open the second half of their season hosting the lowly Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday in the start of a home-and-home series.

After going 3-4 on a season-high seven-game road trip, the Cavs returned to Quicken Loans Arena -- where it owns one of the best home records in the league -- but lost 90-79 to Orlando on Monday.

Cleveland has dropped four of its last five games, and coach Mike Brown was disappointed with how lethargic his team played.

"We've got to do a better job of bringing our energy and our effort level," he said.

Despite their recent slump, Cleveland (24-17) has the same record it had after 41 games last season.

Monday's loss was Cleveland's first at home since Dec. 21. The Cavs are 15-4 at Quicken Loans Arena, where they haven't lost two straight all season.

The 76ers (12-30), meanwhile, have dropped five straight road games, and are just 5-20 away from the Wachovia Center.

Cleveland is fourth in the league with 43.3 rebounds per game, but was outrebounded 43-31 against the Magic. The Cavaliers have been outrebounded in each of their last four losses.

Although the Cavs are sliding, James is staying positive.

"We're fine," said James, who scored 18 points on Monday. "We're still in first place in our division, second place in the whole Eastern Conference, so we're still fine."

Cleveland is tied with Detroit atop the Central Division, but the Pistons have two games in hand.

The Cavs beat Philadelphia 108-95 on Nov. 25 behind 25 points and 11 assists from James, who has been solid in his last six games against the 76ers, averaging 33.2 points, 7.7 assists and 7.0 rebounds. Cleveland, though, has won only three of those contests.

While Cleveland is one of the top teams in the East, Philadelphia is the worst. The 76ers managed to beat New Orleans 102-96 on Tuesday, but have still lost four of their last six games. They have not won consecutive games since beating Boston and New York on Dec. 22 and 23, respectively.

This will be the first time the Cavs play the 76ers without Allen Iverson, who was traded to Denver on Dec. 19. Philadelphia is 7-12 since trading the former MVP and have been led by Kyle Korver and Andre Iguodala.

Korver scored 25 points on Tuesday, and is averaging 21.3 points in his last seven road games. Iguodala had 20 points against the Hornets, and had 17 points and eight boards against the Cavs earlier this season.

"These guys have hung together, despite all the stuff that we've been through," coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We're just trying to play some good basketball and we'll just see what happens from there."

The teams wrap up the home-and-home series Friday in Philadelphia.