ATLANTA: Kyrie Irving felt good about the Cavs’ momentum entering Friday’s game at the Atlanta Hawks. Mike Brown had simplified the offense to quicken the pace, Irving thought Friday morning’s shootaround was the best of the season and the Cavs had the chance to equal their longest winning streak over the last three years.
Then Irving went scoreless in a game for the first time in his career and the Cavs were blown out at Philips Arena 108-89 to become the league’s first team to lose 10 games on the road.
Irving’s miserable shooting season reached a new low Friday when he missed all nine of his shots (and three free throws). He also missed his last five shots of Wednesday’s victory against the Denver Nuggets. His last basket came with 4:44 left in the third quarter Wednesday.
Irving’s previous career scoring low was 4 points set in a loss last season on April 14 at Philadelphia. He was 1 for 6 shooting that night before former coach Byron Scott yanked him in a blowout. Similarly, Brown pulled him Friday five minutes into the third quarter with the Cavs down 77-48 and he didn’t return.
Andrew Bynum and Dion Waiters did their best to carry the Cavs on a night few others could score. Waiters had 30 points off the bench and Bynum was terrific for a third consecutive game, finishing with 20 points and 13 rebounds. But the Cavs’ starting backcourt of Irving and C.J. Miles were a combined 1 of 17 in the loss.
Waiters and Bynum were a combined 22 of 34 shooting. The rest of the Cavs shot 16 of 60 (27 percent).
The Cavs trailed by as many as 29 early in the third quarter, but cut the deficit to 84-72 on a 3-pointer from Matthew Dellavedova with 10:13 to play. That’s as close as they got.
The game really slipped away in the final two minutes of the first quarter. The Cavs only trailed 27-18 with 1:47 left, but the Hawks scored 10 points in the last 1:31. A 50-foot heave from Paul Millsap at the quarter buzzer pushed the lead to 37-20 and the Cavs never recovered. Millsap had 16 points and 14 rebounds and Al Horford had 22 points and nine rebounds for the Hawks, who had seven scorers in double figures.
The Hawks’ Kyle Korver set an NBA record with his 3-pointer with 5:29 left in the first quarter. It was his 90th consecutive game with a 3, breaking the previous record set by the Boston Celtics’ Dana Barros.
The Cavs aggressively pursued Korver in free agency last summer before he ultimately returned to the Hawks on a four-year, $24 million deal.