Spurs beat Cavs on Channing Frye-Day, 112-90

Team pays tribute to 13-year veteran as he prepares to retire

Daryl Ruiter
April 07, 2019 - 5:13 pm

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Sunday was Frye-day at Quicken Loans Arena.

With Channing Frye’s 13-year career coming to an end Tuesday night, the Cavaliers began the sendoff against the San Antonio Spurs.

“I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I deserved it,” Frye said.

“It’s humbling because I don’t average 30 points and I’m not an All-Star, but to be able to get love like that, it’s a great reflection on the city and our fans and this organization.”

The entire team wore No. 9 warm-ups with “Channing” on the back prior to and throughout the 112-90 loss to the Spurs on the bench and a variety of tributes to him were played in the arena on Humungotron during timeouts.

“We really wanted to something special for him,” Cavs head coach Larry Drew said. “He’s been a trooper all season long. Sitting on the bench and talking to our young guys, cheering our young guys on, being vocal in our locker room and it was a no-brainer when the discussion came up about starting him this game.

“We were happy that we were able to let him go out with kinda a bang, given the career he’s played. He deserved it.”

Frye started against the Spurs in place of Kevin Love, who came off the bench with 5:20 remaining in the opening quarter wearing Frye’s Arizona No. 45 jersey as he walked to the scorers table.

“I bit the bullet,” Love said with a smile. “It's one of the guys who taught me to sacrifice and I sacrificed by wearing an Arizona jersey and it was a little tough.”

Frye opened the scoring by burying a three from the top of the key and he scored five points in 16 minutes while adding four rebounds and an assist. He is the 36th player in NBA history to record 4,000 rebounds and 1,000 threes in a career.

“I've won a championship here. I've had a kid here,” Frye said. “Then just having great teammates, then on the other end both my parents died while I was here. So just having those highs and lows. Going to the Finals, losing in the Finals, getting traded, coming back, injuries this year.

“I think with all these highs and lows I've seen the best of Cleveland and I've seen the best of the fans. I think that's why I'm endearing to them. A lot of people say, 'I love our fans.' I legitimately love our fans.”

Beloved by his teammates for his quick wit and comedic personality, Frye was tackled by them when he subbed out late in the fourth quarter when he got to the bench.

“Whether it was the spirit of the game, our culture, just everything that Channing is about on and off the floor, he helped influence the Cavs in a very big way,” Love said. “We love him and this was about him.”

Prior to the game, general manager Koby Altman along with Love and former Cavalier Richard Jefferson paid tribute to Frye and presented him with custom artwork commemorating the team’s 2016 NBA championship, joking that Frye carried them to the title.

“There’s no doubt in my mind, in everybody’s mind, that we don’t win the 2016 NBA championship without Channing Frye,” Altman said. “As we like to joke around, you carried these two to a championship as well.”

The artwork depicted Frye, wearing a crown and his championship ring, holding the Larry O’Brien trophy with Love and Jefferson on his back.  

As for the game, it went as expected.

Bittersweet 16 – Brandon Knight and Collin Sexton led the wine and gold with 16 points each.

Knight hit five of 12 from the field in the loss while Sexton was six of 15.

Balanced attack – LaMarcus Aldridge had a double-double by halftime – 16 points and 11 rebounds – and he led five Spurs that scored in double figures finishing with 18 points and 13 boards in the win.

DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills and Davis Bertans each scored 14 for San Antonio.

The Spurs shot a blistering 52.4 percent from the field while the Cavs managed to hit 39.7 percent of their shots.

Crashing glass – The Spurs out-rebounded the Cavs 49-34 in their 47th victory of the season.

Getting even – The Cavs held San Antonio to 17 in the third quarter, unfortunately they only scored 17 and were unable to trim anything off a 16-point halftime deficit.

The Spurs opened the fourth quarter by rolling off an 11-2 run for their largest lead, 25, of the afternoon to put the game out of reach.

One to go – Cleveland wraps up the season Tuesday night against Charlotte.