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Gameblog: Cavs at Atlanta Hawks - Game 3

By George Thomas Published: May 9, 2009

Post-mortem: Cavs 97, Hawks 82
Many apologies for nothing for the third quarter, but things go a little intense.  Mo Williams said in his post-game press conference that the Hawks deserved some credit for the way they played.  He's right.  They gave the Cavs fits until the team finally succumbed in the fourth quarter.
The Cavs set a record for consecutive double-digit victories in the playoffs, this being their seventh.  It wasn't particularly easy as each time they tried to put the Hawks away, they came clawing back.  They answered a 13-4 run by the Cavs in the third quarter with a 13-0 run of their own. It wasn't until late in the third quarter when they had an 8-0 run to end that period and into the second that the game was sewn up.
This is one of those games that you file away for later reflection.  They won because LeBron James decided to take over the game.  He dropped 47 points on the Hawks and added 12 rebounds and eight assists for good measure.  Even he realized it was special, comparing it to his performance against the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals two years ago.
James normally sits to start the fourth - not in this game. He played 96 percent of it and scored 13 of the Cavs 25 points in it.  He apparently told Brown he was going to take over the game.  Teammates had no problem with it.
But don't underestimate the effect Zaza Pechulia's ejection with 1:33 left in the third after being called for a blocking foul had on the outcome of this game.  Atlanta Hawks Coach Mike Woodson admitted as much.
 Post-game quotes of note:

''He took the ball and put it in his hands and said 'I'm going to score for us.  And I said: 'OK'.  And I told everybody else:  'Let's defend.'''  Coach Mike Brown on LeBron James' performance.
''From what I'm hearing, it was clearly a block.  And Zaza just overreacted.  But what you going to do?  We have to keep playing and we didn't do that.''  - Coach Mike Woodson on Zaza Pechulia's ejection.
 First half:  Cavs 47, Hawks 46
Give the Hawks credit for not going without a squawk.  Defensively, they've been superb smothering the ball and forcing the Cavs into several 24-second violations and limiting the number of shots that they got off. But what should worry the Cavaliers is the fact that after shooting 29 percent in the first quarter, they shot 67 percent in the second to make the game close.  They aer smothering the ball on defense and getting decent looks on offense.
First quarter Cavs 22, Hawks 18
This one isn't about to be as easy the two at Quicken Loans Arena.  As they shold, the Hawks are playing like cornered animals.  At this point, they are in nothing-to-lose mode and they have buckled down.  Case in point:  they have gotten off seven more shots than the Cavs in the quarter.  The Cavs benefited from a few Hawks shots rattling in and out and they are currently limiting the Hawks to 29 percent shooting from the field.
Game: Cavs vs. Atlanta Hawks
Broadcast: TV: ABC (WEWS Channel 5) ; Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters: Cavs: LeBron James (F); Ben Wallace (F); Zydrunas Ilguaskas (C); Delonte West (G); Mo Williams (G). Atlanta: Maurice Evans (F); Josh Smith (F); Al Horford (C); Joe Johnson (G); Mike Bibby (G).
Injury update: It should tell you what this game means that most of the injured Hawks starters are going. Joe Johnson is hobbled and the only type of pregame activity he could perform was basic set shots. He shuffled a little bit, but that's about it.  If he can't go full strength, that greatly diminishes any chance the Hawks have in this one.
For the Cavs, Delonte West will play after being poked in the eye Thursday night.  He was in good spirits after Saturday's shootaround:
I didn’t see the replay, but it felt like his finger push my eyeball back in my head, so I had to take the standing eight count to make sure my eye was still there. 
On whether he'd wear goggles during the game:
They asked me about that.  You’re not going to catch me with no goggles on; I promise you that.  You’re not going to have me on the James Worthy tip.
Tarence Kinsey is questionable with a right sprained ankle, but will be available if needed.
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