CLEVELAND -- Cavaliers coach Byron Scott opened his postgame comments by praising Cleveland's defense, effort and energy.
"Especially," he said, "in the third quarter."
For a change, the Cavs didn't fall flat on their faces after halftime.
Daniel Gibson scored 18 points, Jamario Moon added 13 and the Cavaliers finally shook their third-quarter blues with a 101-93 win Tuesday night over the Philadelphia 76ers, who lost their fourth in a row and played without swingman Andre Iguodala.
The third quarter has been Cleveland's downfall all season. "Our nemesis," Scott said.
Entering the game, the Cavs had been outscored 226-164 in the period, but helped by an 11-0 run, they outscored the 76ers 26-16 in the third and never looked back.
It was only the second time this season that the Cavs outscored their opponent in the third.
"Everybody has been harping on it," Moon said. "We know if we're going to win, we have to play 48 minutes and tonight we finally did it."
Gibson had eight assists and reserve Joey Graham added 13 points off the bench as the Cavs (5-5) ended a two-game slide and got back to .500.
Thaddeus Young scored 17 and rookie Evan Turner had 16 points and nine assists to pace the Sixers, who were missing a key piece in Iguodala. He sat out with a troublesome Achilles' tendon that caused him to miss two games last week and hasn't gotten much better.
"We lose a big weapon when Andre doesn't play," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "Without him, we lose his quickness. That's a huge loss."
Puzzled by Cleveland's third-quarter issues, Scott had joked that maybe the Cavs should repeat their dazzling pregame pyrotechnics after halftime to fire up his team. None of that was necessary. All it took was some better shooting, defense and hustle.
It also didn't hurt to have back energetic center Anderson Varejao. He had missed Cleveland's previous game with sore ribs, but returned wearing a flak jacket the Cavs got from the Cleveland Browns.
The Cavaliers were without guard Mo Williams, who sat out his second straight game with a groin injury. But Gibson picked up the slack and Cleveland's bench chipped in 54 points.
With upcoming road games at New Orleans, San Antonio and Indiana, it was important for the Cavs to get a win -- anywhere.
Owner Dan Gilbert seemed to sense the urgency. Before the game, he wrote, "We need to get this one tonight" on his Twitter page.
The Cavaliers got it by breaking open a back-and-forth game with an 11-0 run in the third, highlighted by a three-point play from Varejao that came after Anthony Parker's hustle.
Parker ran down a loose ball as he fell out of bounds and delivered a blind, behind-the-back pass to Antawn Jamison, who flipped the ball to Varejao. Cleveland's center scored, was fouled and made his free throw give the Cavaliers a 72-61 lead.
The play was vital, but not because of how it happened, but when it happened -- in the third.
"That's what it's all about right there," Gibson said. "AP, he's a veteran in this league and to see him laying out trying to win a game, I think that trickled down throughout the whole team. Everybody wanted to do whatever it took to win."
Philadelphia twice got within seven in the fourth, but Gibson hit a big 3-pointer and a jumper to push Cleveland's lead back to 13 with 5:07 left.
Elton Brand had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Jrue Holliday had 10 assists for the Sixers.
Several of Turner's friends were on hand to see the former Ohio State star's first regular-season game in Ohio.
"It was cool," Turner said. "It was definitely cool. It would have been way better if we would have won."
Andres Nocioni's 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left tied it at 54 at the half and sent the teams to their respective locker rooms looking to figure out how to get their offenses untracked.
Only the Cavs were able to.
"We had a miserable third quarter," Collins said. "We gave them 61 points in the second and third."
Varejao went 4-of-5 and is 14-of-15 in two games vs. Philly this season. ... Turner received a loud ovation during pregame intros. While in town, he visited his favorite breakfast spot: Waffle House. "They don't have them in Philly," said Turner, who ordered a double waffle, sausage and hash browns. ... Scott's relationship with Collins dates back to his playing days at Arizona State, where Collins was an assistant coach. "It was one of my great joys," Collins said. "Byron was a tremendous talent. I felt like I had a chance to help him with his career, which makes me feel good." ... Longtime Cavaliers radio play-by-play broadcaster Joe Tait was released from the hospital after a lengthy stay for a blood clot in his lung.