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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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Game 1 Pregame: Cavs at Hawks

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 20, 2015


Time: 8:30 p.m.; Place: Philips Arena


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Cavs' Kyrie Irving a light participant in practice; Tristan Thompson 'ready to bang'

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 19, 2015

Cavs All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving did not fully participate in practice Tuesday before the team flew to Atlanta, but coach David Blatt was upbeat about Irving going into Wednesday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Hawks.

"Kyrie had another light, but good day," Blatt said. "Hopefully, he wakes up tomorrow feeling great."

That was a reference to how Irving said he felt before Game 5 of the conference semifinals against the Chicago Bulls. Battling left knee tendinitis and a right foot injury, Irving responded that night with 25 points in 39 minutes of the Cavs' victory. The Cavs went on to close out the Bulls in six games.

Irving declared Monday he would play against the Hawks despite reaggravating the knee injury in Game 6 vs. the Bulls and playing only 12 minutes.

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Kyrie Irving declares he'll play in Game 1 against Atlanta Hawks

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 18, 2015

INDEPENDENCE: Kyrie Irving removed any doubt about his availability for Wednesday’s opening game of the Eastern Conference finals.

”I’m going to go,” he said.

Irving participated in practice Monday and coach David Blatt said he was encouraged by the progress Irving has made just a few days removed from the series victory against the Chicago Bulls.

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Kyrie Irving held out of practice; Cavs 'hope' he can play vs. Atlanta Hawks Wednesday

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 16, 2015

Cavs' All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving was held out of practice Saturday after reaggravating a left knee injury in Thursday's closeout Game 6 against the Chicago Bulls.

An MRI on Monday revealed tendinitis in Irving's knee. Irving has also been battling a right foot strain suffered in Game 2 of the first-round series against the Boston Celtics.

Cavs coach David Blatt said Irving saw the doctors again Friday. Blatt couldn't give a definitive assessment of Irving's status for Wednesday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Hawks in Atlanta, but said the Cavs "hope" he can play.

"He going through a lot of treatment and we’re monitoring and just hoping that he progresses from here until game time," Blatt said.

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Cavs 94, Bulls 73; Jason Lloyd's 23 final thoughts on advancing to conference finals

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 15, 2015
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CHICAGO: Twenty-three thoughts for 23 shots from No. 23 in a 94-73 Game 6 win and semifinals series victory against the Chicago Bulls…

1. In the weeks leading up to February’s trade deadline, as they made calls and mulled deals from around the league, the Cavaliers kept coming back to one idea: Don’t be one injury away from postseason elimination.

MORECavaliers 94, Bulls 73: Reserves stand out as Cavs eliminate Bulls, advance to conference finals

2. It’s part of the reason why they tried so hard to upgrade the point guard position. Matthew Dellavedova struggled at various points during his second year in the NBA, and as the only point guard behind Kyrie Irving, it didn’t always feel like much of a safety net. So the Cavs looked overseas, they kicked the tires on a few trade targets and had at least one deal for a point guard fall through on deadline day.

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Role players shine as Cavs eliminate Bulls with 94-73 victory, advance to conference finals

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 14, 2015


CHICAGO: LeBron James left Cleveland the first time because he didn’t have enough help around him. Now that he’s back, the hired hands carried the Cavaliers within one step of the NBA Finals.

James had 15 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds while struggling through another lousy shooting night, Kyrie Irving reinjured his left knee in the second quarter and did not return and yet the Cavs still eliminated the Chicago Bulls with a 94-73 victory in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals because of the role players.

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