Frye scores 27 points in a 121-108 victory over Atlanta that gives Cleveland a commanding 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semi-finals
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving had their usual stellar performances. Kevin Love came up big, too.
But when Channing Frye turned in the best playoff game of his career, the Atlanta Hawks didnt have a chance.
Frye scored 27 points and the Cavaliers kept up their three-point barrage Friday night, dominating down the stretch for a 121-108 victory that gave Cleveland a commanding 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Were a team thats destined for greatness, James said.
Certainly, the Cavaliers will be hard to stop if Frye plays like he did in game 3.
Acquired from Orlando in February to provide another outside threat and extend defenses, the 32-year-old played that role to perfection. He made 10 of 13 shots, including seven of nine from three-point range.
It was a devastating blow for an Atlanta team that already was outgunned by the Cavaliers and couldnt cope with someone else stepping into a lead role.
We brought him here to shoot, James said. And shoot and shoot and shoot.
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 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 years conference final.
Game four is Sunday in Atlanta, but this was likely the last chance to make it a competitive series.
Were fighting for our playoff lives right now, Al Horford said. At this point, we have to do some changes, because what weve done hasnt worked.
The Hawks led by as many as 11. Turns out, that wasnt nearly enough to hold off the Cavaliers.
James and Irving each scored 24 points, while Love chipped in with 21.
Then there was 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.
Frye relayed some advice from teammate James Jones: Channing, youve got to stop passing. Youre not very good. Youve just got to shoot it.
So he did. Over and over again.
The Hawks led 103-99 with just over eight minutes remaining, but the Cavaliers were relentless and the home team which had matched Cleveland shot for shot suddenly went cold.
Cleveland went ahead for good when the Hawks inexplicably left James all alone outside the three-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 JR 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 Clevelands lead with 5:56 left.
Cleveland scored 22 of the final 27 points, the Hawks making just two of their final 12 shots, with four turnovers mixed in.
The frustration boiled over in the closing seconds. As James attempted to drive, Jeff Teagueshoved 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 struggling Kyle Korver, who reacted to the demotion with his best game of the series.
Korver scored 18 points and made five of nine from three-point range. 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 didnt matter.
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