Frye Shoots Down Sixers as Cavs Stay Perfect

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Wrap-Up – It’s not a total surprise that the World Champion Cavaliers have started the 2016-17 season at 6-0. But it is a little odd that it took the winless Sixers to give them their toughest test yet.

That was the case on Saturday night , as the scrappy young Sixers battled back from an 18-point deficit to take a fourth-quarter lead before Channing Frye’s three-pointer with 1:05 to play gave Cleveland back the 102-101 lead.

In a madcap final minute that saw Kyrie Irving make a pair of big defensive plays, it was J.R. Smith who secured the win when he stripped Gerald Henderson, who tried to hit the game-winner after Philly called timeout with 7.3 to play.

With the 102-101 win at the Wells Fargo Center, the Cavaliers have now beaten Philly in 10 of the last 11 meetings and improve to 6-0 on the season – two wins away from tying the franchise mark for victories to start the season, held by Bill Fitch’s 1976-77 squad.

LeBron James continued his amazing early season tear – leading both teams with 25 points and 14 assists, going 9-for-23 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the stripe to go with eight boards and a pair of steals.

Kevin Love also kept his roll going, following up with 20 points on 8-for-16 shooting to go with 11 boards and a blocked shot – his third double-double of the young season. His frontcourt mate, Tristan Thompson, led all rebounders with 13 – having grabbed double-digit boards in each of his last five outings.

Thompson had his hands full on Saturday night, taking on Philly’s Joel Embiid – who was drafted with the third overall pick in 2014 but is finally seeing action this year. The young big man from Cameroon led the Sixers with 22 points on 7-for-13 shooting, including a jaw-dropping 4-of-4 from beyond the arc.

Kevin Love

LeBron James and Kevin Love tally double-doubles as the Wine and Gold stay unbeaten.

Ersan Ilyasova, acquired by the Sixers earlier this week, came off Philly’s bench and led the Sixers’ second-half comeback. For the Cavaliers, it was Frye to the rescue, tallying double-figures for the second straight game with 12 points, going 4-of-8 from long-range, including the game-winning bomb with just over a minute to play.

The Sixers out-shot the Cavaliers, 46 percent to 41 percent and both teams canned 14 triples. But the Cavaliers dominated Philly on the break, 40-13, and outdid them on the boards, 49-44.

Turning Point -- After trailing for most of the night, the Sixers started the fourth quarter on a 16-9 run and turned an 18-point deficit into a five-point lead, 96-91, midway through the quarter.

But LeBron James scored on an uncontested dunk and canned his lone triple of the game over the next three minutes to get the Cavaliers back within striking distance – and J.R. Smith’s trey less than a minute later gave Cleveland the lead back, 99-98.

Ersan Ilyasova answered with a three on Philly’s next possession, but after a timeout with 1:20 to play, Channing Frye checked in for Tristan Thompson and stepped into the game-winner to sink the Sixers.

By the Numbers26,970 … career points that LeBron James has now accumulated, passing Hakeem Olajuwon and moving into the NBA’s all-time Top 10 scoring list. On his way to the Top 5, he’ll have to pass Elvin Hayes (27,313), Moses Malone (27,409), Shaquille O’Neal (28,596) and Dirk Nowitzki (29,527 and counting).

QuotableChanning Frye, on hitting the game-winner on Saturday …

” What have I got to lose? (Coach Lue) put me in for one reason, my guy was in the paint, I got my feet right. You kind of relish these opportunities to just make a big shot for your team and pull your weight.”

Up Next – On Election Night, the Wine and Gold welcome the Atlanta Hawks to town for the first time this season. They’ll stick with that theme for the week, traveling to the nation’s capital for a visit to the White House as World Champs followed by a Friday night meeting with John Wall and the Wizards. They return home for a Sunday afternoon meeting with the Hornets at The Q followed by the Raptors first visit to Cleveland this season two nights later.

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