A pair of free throws by Lloyd Free with 18 seconds remaining capped Philadelphia's comeback from a 24-point deficit as the 76ers edged the Cleveland Cavaliers, 112-111, today in an NBA game.
The 76ers trailed by 24 at 89-65 with 22 seconds left in the third period but, led by Julius Erving's 13 final period points, pulled out the win. Erving collected 10 field goals and 14 free throws for 34 points.
The 76ers trailed 107-95 with 2:40 remaining and outscored the Cavaliers 17-4 to hand Cleveland its 19th road defeat in the last 22 games.
Free's winning free throws came after Cleveland's Elmore Smith was called for goaltending on a shot by Erving that reduced the Cavalier's lead to 111-110. Erving scored seven of Philadelphia's final nine points.
The Cavaliers took the lead on a pair of field goals at the end of the first period, 30-26, and increased it to 55'48 at halftime.
Cleveland boosted the margin to 22 points after three quarters, as the 76ers turned the ball over 20 times, leading to 24 Cavaliers' points.
Philadelphia began its comeback early in the fourth quarter with the help of three baskets by substitute forward Joe Bryant. The Sizers reduced the lead to seven points with 5:04 on the clock. But the Cavaliers went on a 5-2 spurt to boost the margin back to 10 at 107-97.
They scored only four points after that.
Free had three changes to make the two winning fouls, missing the second and then sending Philadelphia ahead on the penalty shot.
George McGinnis scored 24 and Doug Collins 21 for Philadelphia, while Austin Carr led Cleveland with 26.