PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia 76ers heard all the whispers before the season started. They were predicted by most experts to be among the worst teams in the league, if not the worst.
Through six games, the Sixers are choosing not to listen.
Evan Turner scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Tony Wroten Jr. added 18 points, and the Sixers cruised past the Cleveland Cavaliers 94-79 on Friday night, overshadowing the return of center Andrew Bynum.
Second-year pro Wroten’s scoring total was a career high.
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“It was a great feeling,” said Wroten, who played for the Memphis Grizzlies last season and was traded in August. “Hard work has paid off. Getting an opportunity to play is a blessing.”
Wroten was a standout at Garfield High School in Seattle. Spencer Hawes, an ex-UW Husky and Seattle Prep player, added 10 points for Philadelphia.
The buzz leading into the game was the return of Bynum, who signed a two-year, $24 million contract with the Cavaliers in July.
Bynum had been acquired by the Sixers in a four-team, 12-player trade in the summer of 2012. But the two-time All-Star center never played for Philadelphia because of bilateral bone bruises in both knees. He had season-ending arthroscopic surgery in March and wound up signing the incentive-laden deal with the Cavaliers as a free agent.
Booed virtually every time he touched the ball, Bynum played 18 minutes in a reserve role and finished with four points and five rebounds.
“I thought it was a little weak,” Bynum said of the reaction of Philadelphia fans. “I thought it was going to be much worse. It wasn’t.”
Bobcats’ Clifford has heart procedure
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte Bobcats said coach Steve Clifford underwent a successful procedure to have two stents placed in his heart.
Rod Higgins, Bobcats president of basketball operations, said in a release Clifford is “resting comfortably” in a hospital but it is too early to know when he will return to work. Higgins said Clifford checked himself into the hospital Thursday night because he was suffering from chest pains.
Clifford, 52, joined the Bobcats this offseason after spending last season as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Associate head coach Patrick Ewing coached the Bobcats in Friday night’s game against the New York Knicks — a team he spent 15 seasons with as a center before playing for the Sonics in the 2000-01 season.
Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points as the Knicks beat Charlotte 101-91.
“Coach Clifford and I have been friends for a lot of years — we’ve worked together for over 10 years now — and this is definitely not the way I wanted to start my head-coaching career, with him being in the hospital,” Ewing said.
• Paul George scored 17 of his 23 points in the third quarter and the Indiana Pacers beat the Toronto Raptors 91-84 to improve to 6-0 and match the best start in franchise history.
The Pacers are the only unbeaten team in the league.
• In a matchup of the teams that entered the game with the best records in the Western Conference, host San Antonio beat Golden State 76-74 despite shooting 39 percent from the field and 50 percent from the free-throw line. Tony Parker led the Spurs (5-1) with 18 points.