This time, Dion Waiters intends to remain calm.
The Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard struggled while doing opposite in last season’s games against the 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. So the South Philadelphia native is taking a more relaxed approach to Friday night’s matchup against the Sixers (3-2).
Waiters knows that’s the only way he can help the Cavs (2-3) get out of their funk. They’ve lost three of four games and are 0-3 on the road.
“I was too amped up,” the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder said of last season’s two games in Philly. “I wanted to do good really, really good. Instead of letting the game come to me, I was pressing.”
Part of that had to do with trying to impress family members on hand.
“I’m looking at my family, giving them the eye wink and all that,” Waiters said.
So he finished with five points on 2-for-13 shooting in an 86-79 setback on Nov. 18, 2012. Then he had 11 points on 5-for-15 shooting and committed six turnovers in a 91-77 loss on April 14.
“At the end of the day, it’s great,” Waiters said of playing at home. “But it can also be a distraction. You got to see your people that you can see and do the things that you have to do.
“But I’m trying to be focused man. I’m trying to have a big game here, man.”
Waiters is averaging 11.8 points and two rebounds this season. He had 21 points, three rebounds, three assists, a steal and a blocked shot in Wednesday’s 109-104 loss at the Milwaukee Bucks. That marked the 15th time the second-year player has scored at least 20 points.
Follow and contact Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers