January 04, 2015

J.R. Smith credited Kyrie Irving's presence as a major reason for his string of high-scoring games.

He'll try to keep that run going as the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers go for their first four-game season sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers in 20 years on Sunday night.

Smith, averaging 11.9 points, has scored at least 24 in three consecutive games and had a season-high 27 in a 125-99 victory in Minnesota on Friday. He made 10 of 12 shots, 5 of 6 from 3-point range, and has connected on 18 of 30 attempts from beyond the arc during his run.

The Cavaliers (25-9) have tied a franchise record by scoring at least 120 points in three straight games and have won six in a row overall.

"I've got so much room. At the end of the day, when I catch the ball, nobody is coming to help. It's just me and my man on an island. I can pretty much do what I want," Smith said. "With Kyrie out there, it helps everybody."

Irving scored 13 points in his eighth game since returning from knee surgery after totaling 57 in his previous two. The point guard made his long-awaited debut Dec. 20 in a 108-86 win against Philadelphia.

The Cavaliers have won five straight over the 76ers (4-35) and all three matchups this season. They rallied from an early 15-point deficit for a 107-100 victory in their previous trip to Philadelphia on Nov. 2.

The 76ers have dropped back-to-back games by a combined 41 points since winning three of their prior six. They fell 108-95 to Toronto on Saturday, dropping to 2-14 on their own floor.

Ish Smith had a career-high 28 points for Philadelphia and is averaging 20.3 while shooting 56.3 percent in his last three games.

"His speed is undeniable and now he's knocking down his jump shot," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "He's a handful. Philly's got a gem in him."

Cleveland, winners in a season-high four straight on the road following a 3-7 stretch as visitors, have won in two of its past three at Philadelphia. The Cavaliers' bench had one of its best scoring performance of the season in the most recent trip to the Wells Fargo Center with 43 points and scored 47 - three shy of matching its top effort in 2015-16 - in the latest win in the series.

The reserves provided 46 points against Minnesota after totaling 35 in the previous two games. Iman Shumpert had a season-high 23.

Matthew Dellavedova set his season mark with 20 points off the bench in the most recent matchup with Philadelphia.

"It is nice. A lot of different guys can carry the load on this team," forward Kevin Love said. "It's not just one or two guys and that makes for a pretty formidable group."

J.R. Smith has totaled eight points against the 76ers this season, scoring all of that in the latest meeting, but has dealt with injury in two of those games. A bruised right knee limited him to 4:57 in the most trip to Philadelphia and was forced to sit out a 108-102 victory in Cleveland because of that same ailment.

The Cavaliers haven't swept a season series from Philadelphia since winning three games in 2009-10 and haven't produced a four-game sweep since 1995-96.

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