CLEVELAND: Jeff Teague’s jumper at the buzzer bounced around the rim five times before falling through, handing the Cavs a crushing 127-125 loss at the buzzer in double overtime. It’s the second time the Cavs have lost in the final second in their last four home games.
Kyrie Irving had 40 points and nine assists, including 12 in the second overtime, but he also committed six of the Cavs’ 24 turnovers. The Cavs have lost three straight and five of their last six, but none have been this wild.
The second overtime was filled with loose balls, jump balls, official reviews, timeouts and a stoppage in play seemingly every 10 seconds. Irving tied the game at 125 on a jumper with 55 seconds left, but the Hawks controlled the ball for the final minute thanks to an offensive rebound and winning a jump ball that Anderson Varejao batted out of bounds.
Irving and Tristan Thompson switched defensively on the Hawks’ game winner. Teague gave Thompson a jab step, then stepped back in the lane for the jumper that finally fell through after dancing around the rim.
Dion Waiters had 20 points off the bench in his return after missing three games with swelling in his right wrist, Thompson had 22 points and six rebounds and Varejao had 17 rebounds, but the Cavs fell to the Hawks for the second time this season despite the Hawks playing the second overtime without Al Horford, who was injured during the first overtime.
That left Teague to take all of the big shots and he hit enough of them, finishing with 34 points and 14 assists in a wild battle between point guards.
Irving missed his first five shots Thursday after missing all nine of his attempts in the Cavs’ 108-89 loss at Atlanta on Dec. 6. He caught fire in the second quarter, however, and finished one point shy of his career high.
The Hawks tied the game in the first overtime at 108 on a 3-pointer from a wide-open Teague with 4.2 seconds left. The Cavs had a chance to tie, but Teague knocked the ball away from Irving following the inbounds pass. The ball was ruled out on Irving and the Hawks took possession with a chance to win. Teague’s shot at the buzzer following a deep inbounds went off the back of the rim, forcing the second overtime.
Matthew Dellavedova made four free throws in the final 12 seconds of the first overtime and the Cavs went 5-for-6 at the free-throw line in the final 21 seconds, but Teague’s 3-pointer after Irving was buried off a screen made it all for naught.
The game was tied at 95 after regulation when Teague missed a floater in the lane over an outstretched Irving with 0.9 seconds left. The Cavs struggled to get the ball inbounded despite calling two timeouts and their final look was an Anderson Varejao 3-pointer at the buzzer, which clanked badly off the backboard.
The Cavs led 90-83 with 5:41 left, but the Hawks made a pair of 3-pointers to make it a one-possession game. Horford tied the game at 95 on a layup with 1:04 left, setting up overtime.
Waiters returned to the lineup after missing three games with tendonitis in his right wrist. Waiters said before the game he has no idea what happened, only that the swelling persisted in the wrist for a couple of weeks to the point he couldn’t pass or shoot.
His wrist was put in a soft cast for a few days, but he said the discomfort is still there, it’s just more tolerable now.
“It’s going to linger because you have to shoot and dribble,” he said. “It’s way better. I can shoot and do things I couldn’t do before.”
The Cavs went 1-2 without Irving in the lineup and the offense was obviously impacted. They shot just 39 percent through the three games and averaged 88 points in losses to the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons.