PHILADELPHIA -- Unable to hold on to a 19-point lead, Daniel Gibson wasn't about to let the game completely get away from the Cavaliers. Cleveland called a timeout and Gibson called for a change in attitude.
"As soon as we came into the huddle, I said, 'Not this time,'" he said. "They made their run, congrats. Right now, it's time for us to make ours."
Gibson led the way, scoring 10 straight points in the decisive fourth-quarter run and the Cavaliers recovered after blowing the big lead and beat the Philadelphia 76ers 123-116 on Friday night.
"It took us a little while for it to set in, but we did it," Gibson said of his TO pep talk. "That's what it's all about. We're a pretty gritty bunch of guys."
Mo Williams scored 22 points, Gibson had 20, and Anderson Varejao had 23 points and 12 rebounds. J.J. Hickson had 16 for the Cavaliers, who won for the first time since beating Boston on opening night.
"We've got a lot of character. We could have folded, but we didn't," Williams said
They rallied after the Sixers pulled off a major one of their own in the third quarter. Jrue Holiday, who had the game of his career, hit three 3-pointers in the third for the Sixers to erase the huge deficit and take an 84-79 lead.
Playing at home, it should have been enough for the Sixers.
Gibson and Varejao had other ideas. Gibson scored 10 straight points during a 19-5 run that put the Cavaliers ahead for good. His twisting layup made it 103-102 with 3:26 left and he scored 15 points in the fourth.
Varejao was 10 for 10 from the field and the Cavaliers shot 55 percent overall. Williams added seven assists as he rounds back into form after missing time with a groin injury.
"I wanted to be assertive and lead," Gibson said.
He did it on the court and in the huddle.
The Sixers took off in the third quarter without forward Andre Iguodala after he left with a right Achilles' tendon strain. Coach Doug Collins said Iguodala's injury is not serious and he was first hurt Wednesday against Indiana.
Holiday scored a career-high 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting. The second-year point guard had no turnovers in 38 minutes. Elton Brand had 20 points for the Sixers.
"The hardest thing to teach a team is how to win," Collins said. "Not how to get close, but how to win, and that is what we are going to keep striving to do."
Without Iguodala, the Sixers were poised to pull off a stunning comeback. Holiday was perfect from 3-point range in the third when the Sixers stormed back to wipe out the lead. His first 3 of the quarter pulled the Sixers within three, his next one tied the score and his last one put them ahead 80-77.
Collins was back on the bench for the Sixers after leaving at halftime Wednesday because of symptoms related to vertigo. He enjoyed this one for a while after the Cavs dominated the first 24 minutes.
Andres Nocioni, who scored 15 points, put the Sixers ahead for the first time with a 3. Holiday's third 3 helped the Sixers cruise into the fourth. Nocioni left in the fourth with a sprained left ankle.
They could have used Iguodala, their top defender, in the fourth.
Gibson scored from the field and free throw line during his spurt that energized the Cavaliers. Varejao had an electric dunk and Williams followed a Sixers turnover with a basket to make it 110-105.
They sealed it from the line, where they dominated the Sixers. Cleveland made 38 of 48 free throws; the Sixers only 18 for 25.
The Cavs played like they did in the first quarter when they shot 54 percent and led 34-20. Cleveland won without Antawn Jamison, who sat out with a sore left knee. Jamison was inactive for the second straight game after missing Tuesday's loss against Atlanta.
Coach Byron Scott said Jamison is day to day.
Collins returned and said he felt great. He tried to downplay concerns about his health and did not take any medication on Friday.
He felt awful about the loss.
Collins was an assistant at Arizona State and coached Scott. ... The Sixers fell to 3-12 against the Cavaliers, and 0-8 at home, over the last four-plus seasons. ... Brand has scored 20-plus points in three straight games for the first time in his two-plus seasons with the Sixers. ... Iguodala's 252-game starting streak is in jeopardy.
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