Frye-day fun: Cavs hit 21 threes, move one win from sweep

May 6, 2016

ATLANTA — Channing Frye scored a career playoff-high 27 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers kept up their 3-point barrage Friday night, pulling away in the closing minutes for a 121-108 victory over the Atlanta Hawks and a commanding 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Two nights after setting an NBA record with 25 baskets beyond the arc, the Cavaliers were nearly as good in a 21-of-39 performance from long range that moved them within one victory of their second playoff sweep over the Hawks in two years.

Atlanta turned in a much more respectable showing after getting blown out in Game 2. But in the end, it was the same result for a team that has lost 10 straight to the Cavaliers going back to last year's conference final.

The Hawks led by as many as 11 but were dominated in the closing minutes.


Game 4 is Sunday in Atlanta.

Cleveland stars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving each scored 24 points, while the third member of the Big Three, Kevin Love, chipped in with 21. That's to be expected.

Not so for Frye, whose previous high in these playoffs was 12 points and best showing ever in the postseason was a 20-point effort in 2010, when he played for Phoenix.

The 32-year-old forward made 10 of 13 shots, including 7 of 9 from 3-point range. He also had seven rebounds, a devastating blow for an Atlanta team that already was outgunned by the Cavaliers and couldn't cope with someone else stepping into a lead role.

The Hawks led 103-99 with just more than 8 minutes remaining, but the Cavaliers were relentless and the home team, which had matched Cleveland shot for shot, suddenly went cold.

James went right around Kyle Korver for a jam. Then, after an Atlanta miss, came a key sequence that brought a sense of doom over the raucous crowd.

The Hawks inexplicably left James all alone outside the 3-point stripe. He had time to step up to the line, set himself, and put up the jumper. Nothing but net, naturally, giving the Cavaliers their first lead since late in the second quarter.

At the other end, Paul Millsap had a pass knocked away by J.R. Smith, the ball winding up in James' hands. He saw Frye breaking toward the other end, all alone, and fired ahead for a thunderous dunk that extended Cleveland's lead with 5:56 left.

Cleveland scored 22 of the final 27 points, the Hawks making just 7 of 20 in the fourth period.

The frustrated Hawks got downright chippy in the closing seconds. As James attempted to drive, Jeff Teague shoved him into the seats behind the basket with a shoulder shot, drawing a flagrant foul.

Looking for a boost after the Game 2 blowout, the Hawks changed up their lineup. Thabo Sefolosha started in place of the struggling Korver, who reacted to the move with his best game of the series.

Korver scored 18 points and made 5 of 9 from 3-point range. Al Horford led the Hawks with 24 points, also his best showing of the series. On top of that, the Hawks got some valuable minutes out of little-used reserve Kris Humphries, who had nine points and four rebounds.

It wasn't nearly enough.