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NBA playoffs: Cleveland Cavs lead 26-21 after first quarter

By George Thomas Published: May 22, 2015

Cavs 26, Hawks 21

As both teams suffered from injuries, the first quarter of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals felt like another feel-out effort as each teams started tentatively.  The Cavs played without point guard Kyrie Irving and it was clear as the quarter progressed that LeBron James felt the need to take on more of the scoring load with him and, of course, Kevin Love out.  Those 13 points came in various forms and the Hawks, dealing with an injured DeMarre Carroll, seemed to lag on defense. 

The Cavs needed guys to step up in assorted ways and it could be argued that he was only doing what he does, but power forward Tristan Thompson continued to deliver on the glass grabbing eight rebounds in the quarter.

 

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Kyrie Irving will not play in Game 2 vs. Hawks

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 22, 2015

ATLANTA: Kyrie Irving will not play tonight when the Cavaliers face the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Irving visited with Dr. James Andrews on Friday, the team said, and the tendonitis diagnosis was again confirmed. He is listed as questionable for Game 3 on Sunday in Cleveland.

Irving had eight days off between the Cavs’ first two series and six days off prior to facing the Hawks. It’s unclear at this point what another couple of days’ rest will mean.

“We’re evaluating as we go forward and hopeful we can get him back in there,” coach David Blatt said. He added that the Cavs’ 1-0 series lead had no impact on the decision to rest him.

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Hawks' DeMarre Carroll considered game-time decision vs. Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 22, 2015

 

ATLANTA: DeMarre Carroll will be a game-time decision tonight for the Atlanta Hawks, who seem to be preparing as if he won’t play in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Cavs.

Carroll injured his left knee in Game 1 Wednesday and had to be helped off the floor. He attended the Hawks’ morning shootaround wearing a brace, but walked with a slight limp. Kent Bazemore will likely start and defend LeBron James if Carroll is unable to go.

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Kyrie Irving misses shootaround, questionable for Game 2 against Hawks

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 22, 2015

 

ATLANTA: Kyrie Irving missed the Cavs’ morning shootaround and is listed as questionable for Friday night’s Eastern Conference finals Game 2 against the Atlanta Hawks. Irving spent the morning with team doctors and another MRI is likely.

Irving has been fighting tendonitis in the knee for weeks, but the Cavs privately feel as if there isn’t much else they can do for him. No one was expecting an MRI to reveal much, except to once again show Irving there is nothing structurally wrong with the knee. If so, it again becomes a matter of him being able to play through the pain.

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Cavs 97, Hawks 89; Jason Lloyd's 28 thoughts on J.R. Smith, redemption and a historic road win

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 21, 2015

 

ATLANTA: Twenty-eight thoughts for 28 points from J.R. Smith in a 97-89 Game 1 Eastern Conference finals victory against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday…

1. When the Cavs acquired J.R. Smith in January, reaction from team executives across the league ranged from “I would’ve rather given the Knicks a first-round pick for Shumpert just to keep from having to take him” all the way to “if he is a problem next year Dan (Gilbert) will just cut him.” Four months later, it’s difficult to imagine where this team would be without him.

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LeBron scores 31, J.R. Smith sets playoff high with 28 points in Cavs 97-89 Game 1 win over Hawks

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 20, 2015

 

ATLANTA: Right about the time Kevin Love ran off the floor holding his shoulder and Kyrie Irving began dragging his foot up and down the court, the Cavaliers evolved from an offensive juggernaut into a defensive force.

After a slow start Wednesday that defense and J.R. Smith’s red-hot shooting carried the Cavaliers to a 97-89 victory against the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Cavs immediately snatched home-court advantage from the Hawks with Game 2 set for Friday.

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NBA playoffs: Cavs lead Hawks 74-67 after three quarters

By George Thomas Published: May 20, 2015

Cavs 74, Hawks 67

The game turned more physical and reverted back to the grungy tone of the first quarter.  The Cavs continued to look disjointed on offense despite managing to grab a brief four-point lead.

But the key came defensively because they disrupted the Hawks offense, especially their guards as Teague only scored four points in the quarter.  Over the course of  quarter the Cavs allowed the Hawks to only connect on 1-of-10 field goals. Conversely, the Cavs J.R. Smith continued to show a hot hand hitting consecutive threes at one point during the quarter and tallying eight points.

But rebounding is where the Cavs continued to dominate the boards 32-26 and 11-5 on the offensive glass. That aspect of their game finally paid dividends on the scoreboard as the Cavs were able to grind out their lead.

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NBA playoffs: Cavs, Hawks tied at 51 at halftime

By George Thomas Published: May 20, 2015

Cavs 51, Hawks 51

After falling behind in the first quarter, the Cavs found some offense in the person of J.R. Smith.  Smith hit three three-point shots in the second quarter that contributed to the Cavs over a 10 minute stretch from the first into the second and scored  11 points overall.   A 13-5 in the second quarter helped give them their first lead at the 7:32 mark.

That didn’t last for too long, however, as the Hawks’ guards learned rather quickly that defensively the Cavs were struggling.  Atlanta point guard Jeff Teague drove to the hoop at will against the Cavs as it was evident that Kyrie Irving – or anyone for that matter – could not keep up. 

Cleveland had an answer in James who went to work in the post getting easy layups and scoring 14 points in the quarter.  James and Smith kept the Cavs in the game offensively and they continued to crush the Hawks on the board 24-14 for the game.

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NBA playoffs: Atlanta Hawks 26, Cleveland Cavaliers 20 after 1Q

By George Thomas Published: May 20, 2015

Atlanta Hawks 26, Cleveland Cavaliers 20

The opening quarter of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals unfolded like the Cleveland Cavaliers probably wanted – with a bit of ugliness.  Given the bumps and bruises – especially in guard Kyrie Irving -  the team took with them to Atlanta to face the Hawks, it was certainly one way to get a heads up.

Unfortunately, ugliness favored the Hawks as the Cavs showed some rust from their six-day layoff as they were unable to get into an offensive flow early on.  Six Cavs turnovers didn’t help their situation as they continued their struggles.  As a team they shot 35 percent from the floor while the Hawks hit on 61 percent of theirs.   Also adding to the Cavs struggles:  LeBron James left the game at the 3:04 mark of the first quarter with two fouls, the second may being suspect. 

The Cavs dominated the boards 15-6, including beating the Hawks 7-0 on the offensive glass, but they weren’t able to translate that into much in the way of offense early.

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Isiah Thomas says Hawks have advantage over Cavs in coaching

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 20, 2015

 

ATLANTA: Hall of Fame point guard Isiah Thomas believes the Atlanta Hawks have one clear advantage in their Eastern Conference finals series against the Cavs – coaching. Asked for one specific area where the Hawks could exploit the Cavs in this series, the NBA analyst went directly to the bench.

“As we saw in the last series, there’s a learning curve that is still going on and the players on the floor are compensating for it,” Thomas told the Beacon Journal. “But how long does it happen before you can’t compensate for it?”

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