The Cleveland Cavaliers wanted to make sure they’ll have an easy win in Kyrie Irving’s return to the line-up starting the star point guard against the hapless Philadelphia 76ers Sunday.
The Cavs delivered the blowout victory, 108-86 as Irving scored 12 points, dished out 4 assists and had 2 steals in his first game back since a knee injury in the 2015 NBA Finals last June.
"Kind of been a long, long road, but finally getting out there with my teammates was a pleasure," Irving said to ESPN in the post-game interviews.
LeBron James had 23 points and 3 steals and Matthew Dellavedova added 20 points off the bench hitting 4-of-6 three-pointers. Timofey Mosgov had 8 points and 8 rebounds while Richard Jefferson added 9 points on 3-of-5 shooting from behind the arc for the Cavaliers, who gave the starters minimal minutes in the easy victory.
The 76ers briefly had the lead in the early part of the second quarter but the Cavaliers started to pour it on going into halftime. Cleveland held the 55-38 lead at the break and continued the blowout in the third quarter, where they outscored the Sixers, 33-22.
Nerlens Noel had a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Sixers, which dropped to 1-18 for the season, easily the worst mark in the entire league. Jakkar Sampson and T.J. McConnell added 10 points apiece of the bench for Philadelphia.
The Cavaliers will face the New York Knicks on Wednesday before the highly-anticipated Christmas Day match-up against Finals nemesis Golden State Warriors.