LeBron James, Cavs Breeze Past Hawks For 1-0 Lead
LeBron James stuffed the stat sheet (25 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 5 steals, 1 block) and led his Cleveland Cavaliers to a comfortable 104-93 victory against Atlanta Hawks Monday to take a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.Advertisement
James and his Cavs ran away with a 51-41 first half lead before the Hawks, led by Dennis Schroder, made a comeback in the second half. At one stage, the Cavs led the Hawks by 18 points in the fourth quarter until a remarkable turnaround by Mike Budenholzer’s team. |Final Box Score|
With 7:57 left in the game, Hawks took their first lead of the game and threatened to escape the Quickens Loans arena with a shocking road victory. Just then, Kyrie Irving hit a few crucial shots followed by Cavs getting defensive stops to take back the lead.
LeBron James leads Hawks meltdown…
With 2:09 left in the game, James converted a critical and-one opportunity as the Cavs opened up a 95-88 lead. The Hawks had a few more chances to make a comeback but Kent Bazemore and Paul Millsap couldn’t hit open shots before Cavs made their free throws to secure the victory.
Regardless of the late meltdown, there were plenty of positives for the Hawks, especially the performance of Schroder who finished with 27 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, while hitting 5 out of 10 shots from deep.
Irving and Love, who weren’t in the Cavaliers squad that swept the Hawks in last year’s conference finals, finished with 21 and 17 points respectively to go along with JR Smith’s 12 points. Irving dished out 8 assists and hit 3/5 shots from deep while Love had 11 rebounds for another double-double. Despite the win, Love struggled to shoot from deep – going 3/9 from three and 4/17 overall.
For the Hawks, the biggest disappointment of the night was starting point Jeff Teague – who finished with just 8 points from 21 minutes before being replaced for back-up Schroder for the rest of the game.
Game 2 is Wednesday night. Is LeBron James en route to his sixth consecutive NBA Finals?