Post mortem: Cavs 88, Hawks 87
In a playoff situation, this team scares me. Just like they scared the hell out of Boston last year, taking them to seven games before losing on the Celtics home court.
At one point, the Cavs enjoyed a 13-point lead and looked to be on their way to coasting. Not a chance, the Hawks pecked and clawed their way back to eventually take a seven-point lead. The Cavs cut that to four at 84-80 with 2:47 left in the game.
That's when the Cavs, by LeBron James' estimation, played some of their basketball of the year. They needed stops; they got them. They needed huge shots and got those as well with Mo Williams and James hitting the two biggest of the night.
With the Hawks up 87-84, James found Williams on the wing for a three-pointer to tie the game. The Hawks didn't score on the next possession and James drove to the hoop with 1.6 seconds left and drew the foul from Atlanta's Al Horford. He created some drama by missing the first free throw, but connected on the second.
Yes, it was a great end to the game, but the Cavs shouldn't have even been in that position.
They played sloppily for much of the second half to begin. And they didn't get any help from the official scorer who couldn't keep track of fouls on Delonte West.
With three minutes left in the third quarter, the scorer had West with four fouls when he actually only had three. Brown pulled him from the game tinkering with his rotation. During that span the Hawks went on an 8-0 run to take a 68-67 lead. Sloppy to say the least and had the Cavs lost, they may have had reason to protest.
It's not the first time it's happened.
Mike Brown on Delonte's foul situation:
That can really affect the game if you're messing with your rotation like that. I think I had a right to be upset. I did not appreciate the fact that they said Delonte had four especially being on the road and knowing that that is the Hawks' crew.Cavs At the half: Cavs 53, Hawks 43
The Cavaliers are playing decnt defense forcing nine turnovers in the first half and are shooting the ball decently at 49 percent. But there is a lot of room for improvement. The first is on the free throw line where they are shooting just 62 percent from the line in the first half. So far four players in double figures.
Game: Cavaliers (45-12) vs. Atlanta Hawks (33-25)
Broadcast: TV: FSOhio and ESPN. Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters: LeBron James (F); Anderson Varejao (F); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C); Delonte West (G); Mo Williams (G). Hawks: Marvin Williams (F); Josh Smith (F); Al Horford (C); Joe Johnson (G); Mike Bibby (G).
Injured-inactive: Cavs: (Eric Snow); Ben Wallace (fractured fibula); Sasha Pavlovic (high ankle sprain). Hawks: Speedy Claxton (left knee chondromalacia).
Earlier this season: The season series stands at 1-1 thus far with the Cavs winning at home 110-96 on Nov. 22 at Quicken Loans Arena. The Hawks won on Dec. 13 with a 97-92 score in Philips Arena.
Officials: Tony Brothers, Eric Lewis, Haywoode Workman
Streaking: Both teams have won one a piece.
What to watch:
- Zyrdrunas Ilgauskas has to play tough on Al Horford who has averaged more than 20 points in his last two games. With Mike Bibby battling the flu, he will be called upon more to aid the offense. Add to that mix: he’s a monster on the boards averaging close to nine rebounds per game.
- Delonte West on Joe Johnson: In Cleveland West back in November, West held Johnson to just four points. In the December game he held him to 17. Again with Bibby ailing, the Hawks will likely look to others to contribute more offensively; they will look to the 6-7 Johnson first.
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