PHILADELPHIA, January 6 – With LeBron James and Kyrie Irving sidelined and guard Dion Waiters headed out in a three-team trade, the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers fell to lowly Philadelphia 95-92 on Monday.
Tony Wroten’s go-ahead layup with 9.9 seconds to play gave the 76ers their first home victory of the season.
But it was the Cavaliers who were in the spotlight thanks to the trade that sent Waiters to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a deal that also involved the New York Knicks.
The Cavaliers acquired guards Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith from the Knicks and a 2015 first-round draft pick from the Thunder.
In exchange, Cleveland send Waiters to the Thunder and little-used reserves Lou Amundson and Alex Kirk and their own 2019 second-round draft pick to the Knicks.
New York will also receive forward Lance Thomas from Oklahoma City.
The Cavaliers are hoping to bolster their bench with the deal in adding Smith, a former sixth-man of the year, and boost their defense with Shumpert.
Cleveland have endured a rocky campaign since four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James opted to return to his home state and the club where he started his NBA career after four years in Miami.
-Injuries have played a role-
James missed Monday’s game as he continues to recover from back and knee trouble while Irving sat out with tightness in his back.
The Cavs are also coping with the absence of Brazilian big man Anderson Varejao, who is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Kevin Love had 28 points and 19 rebounds for the Cavs, who nevertheless lost for the fifth time in six games.
Cavs coach David Blatt said playing the game amid the trade reports — and with the players involved pulled from the contest at the last minute, was tough.
“I think the guys played under some pretty adverse conditions and mentally they responded very well because it’s never easy to have that kind of thing happen,” Blatt said.
Love said having just nine players available was tough, “but we still felt like we should have won the game.”
“We had it under control,” said Love, whose Cavs led by as many as 17 in the third quarter and were up 86-76 with 6:07 to play.
“We just didn’t bury them. We felt like as a team we should have beat them.”