COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Sixers had a game going with the Cavaliers in the fourth quarter when Royce White lost his cool.
To make matters worse, some of White’s ire was directed at Cavs guard Jarrett Jack, who wasn’t even playing in the game.
The exchange took place at the 9:23 mark with the Cavaliers in front, 75-74. White had just picked up his fifth personal foul and then things unraveled.
“I was going to plead my case to the ref,” White explained after the Sixers’ 104-93 loss (see Instant Replay). “Me and Jarrett Jack exchanged some profane words and I guess they warranted me being ejected.”
The foul was White’s fifth but a technical foul sent him to the locker room. The Cavaliers went on a 16-3 run after that and went on to win the game.
“Momentum changes, momentum swings,” White said. “There were a lot of things going on in the game, but I am frustrated to hear that swung the momentum, especially because we were so close to closing the gap.”
“I think we have to learn how to react better to some referees’ decisions,” head coach Brett Brown added. “That is a young group that just has to learn how to get through stuff, but there were a lot of positives.”
One of those was the fight displayed by the Sixers. They trailed by as much as 12 in the first half before battling back to even grab the lead in the fourth quarter.
Spencer Hawes and James Anderson led the Sixers in scoring with 17 points each. Evan Turner, in his return to the Schottenstein Center on Ohio State University’s campus, scored 14 points on 4 for 13 shooting.
Still, for as much as Brown has praised his veterans for their leadership this fall, he thought they came up short in the fourth quarter on Monday.
“I thought that our starters did not come back ready to play in the fourth period,” Brown said. “Those are the things that stood out as things we have to be aware of and get better at.”
Prior to the game, Brown said he wanted to get a good look at rookie Rodney Williams, who has been hampered by a hamstring injury throughout the preseason. Williams played 19 minutes and still has the coach’s intrigue, despite not scoring and pulling down one rebound.
“You can see enough that his athleticism is always tempting, his size, his length,” Brown said. “I always feel like I am looking at a Nicolas Batum-type of player. He hadn’t played a game or practiced that much, so there were obvious hitches to his flow, but I thought it was good enough to continue to show interest.”
“I could have been more aggressive on offense,” Williams said. “But my focus was on defense and I thought I did pretty well in that.”
The Cavaliers were led by Kyrie Irving’s 17 points and 12 assists. Tristan Thompson was a beast on the backboard, collecting 16 rebounds to go with his 15 points.
The Sixers finish the preseason Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center against the Timberwolves.