Post mortem: Cavs 84, Hawks 74
Ugly. Ugly. Ugly. Did I mention it was ugly? The Cavs turned the ball over 18 times for 22 points and shot a pathetic 54 percent from the free throw line. In the short term is doesn't matter. The Cavaliers beat the Hawks because they played their brand of basketball - on at least one side of the ball.
Defensively, this played out like a Tony Award-worthy Broadway play. When you hold a team to 32 percent shooting for the entire game, you're doing something right. And the Cavaliers seemed to have the right plan in this case. They'd harassed Joe Johnson with double teams throughout the series, but this time they threw a few in the direction of Ronald ''Flip'' Murray, the Hawks' best player off the bench. Considering Murray played 12 minutes of the fourth quarter, the adjustment proved effective. Although he scored 14 points in the game, he only scored two in the fourth quarter and the Hawks only hit 17 overall. They shot an anorexic 24 percent from the floor in the quarter.
Offensively, the Cavs played sloppily. While LeBron James was LeBron James, bench players struggle mightily producing just eight points total. While center Zydrunas Ilgauskas seems to have shaken off the rust wit another workman-like performance that saw him record another double-double with 14-points and 10 rebounds, the normally reliable Mo Williams struggled with 4-of-11 shooting, although he hit a pivotal three-pointer in the fourth quarter. Who came to the rescue? Delonte West, who played positively brilliantly and that was just on offense. West hit 7-of-13 shots, grabbed four rebounds and dished out six assists.
Defensively, with a little help, he made Joe Johnson's night a living hell. Johnson scored 18, but it came on 7-of-18 shooting.
In some ways you have to think that with the turnovers, lousy free throw shooting and overall subpar offense, the Cavs were lucky to get this win and sweep the Hawks. However, as long as they can lock teams down on defense, it would seem that they will have enough offense to get things done.
West had a couple of dunks that got even Coach Mike Brown excited:
That was very impressive that almost brought me out of my shoes. That play right there speaks volumes about who he is.West, who was sporting LeBron James sneakers, gave credit where credit was due for his three dunks on the night:
It was the shoes. That was very uncharacteristic of me.
Third quarter: Cavs 62, Hawks 57