PHILADELPHIA • An early 18-point lead evaporated into a late five-point deficit.
But, somehow, the Cleveland Cavaliers, defending NBA champions, found a way to defeat the reeling Philadelphia 76ers.
It was a prime example of the type of game that championship teams tend to win and losing franchises drop.
LeBron James had 25 points, Kevin Love added 20 points and 11 rebounds and the Cavaliers remained unbeaten with a 102-101 victory over the 76ers on Saturday.
"We will clean it up," James said. "It's a great learning experience for us. It's always great to have these kinds of games. I know we have room for improvement."
James also added eight rebounds and 14 assists, the last on Channing Frye's three-pointer to create the final margin with 65 seconds remaining.
Frye scored 12 points, J.R. Smith added 11 points and Tristan Thompson pulled down 13 rebounds as the Cavaliers improved to 6-0. They are the lone team in the league without a loss.
It is Cleveland's best start since winning their first eight games in 1976-77.
"We'll live with that and we'll be better next time," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. "We stayed poised. We were tested and we came back and won, so I'm pleased about that."
Along the way, James also passed NBA Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon to move into 10th place on the league's scoring list.
James' driving layup in the first quarter pushed him past Olajuwon's total of 26,946 points.
"King" James took only 993 career games over 14 seasons to surpass Hakeem "The Dream," who needed 1,238 games over 18 campaigns to achieve his total.
James' next target on the NBA all-time scoring list is Elvin Hayes with 27,313 points.
"I am just blessed to have had a chance to play with so many great players in two great organisations that have allowed me to blossom," James said. "It's a blessing and an honour."
He won NBA crowns with Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013 and took his third crown, his first with Cleveland, in June.
This was Cleveland's seventh straight win over Philadelphia.
Joel Embiid had 22 points in slightly more than 25 minutes for the Sixers. Ersan Ilyasova scored 21 points, Jahlil Okafor added 14 and Gerald Henderson had 11. Sergio Rodriguez contributed 11 assists as the Sixers fell to 0-5.
The team also dropped their 42nd straight game in October or November, after an overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov 22, 2013.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE