They have also put the rest of the Eastern Conference on notice
with impressive victories over the Chicago Bulls and now the
Cavaliers in consecutive games.
Reserve guard Shelvin Mack set career highs in both points and
3-pointers and the Hawks set a franchise record for 3-pointers in a
quarter during Wednesday's thorough 127-98 pounding of the
Mack shot 6 of 6 on 3-pointers and scored 24 points after entering
the night with just nine 3-pointers and shooting 20 percent from
behind the line. Center Al Horford scored 20 points and forward Paul
Millsap had 14 points and eight rebounds for the Hawks, who shot a
season-best 65 percent and made a franchise-record nine 3-pointers
in the second quarter after the Cavs once held a 50-38 lead.
"We got blown out the first game here, like blown all the way out,"
Mack said. "That wasn't a great feeling. We wanted to come back and
see what we're made of."
The Hawks, winners of 11 of their last 12, lost at Cleveland 127-94
last month when the Cavs set an NBA record by making nine
consecutive 3-pointers to begin the game and ending the night with a
franchise-record 19 3-pointers. Atlanta returned the favor Wednesday
by making a season-best 16 3-pointers without point guard and
leading scorer Jeff Teague, who missed the game with a sore
Guard Dennis Schroder had 10 points and 10 assists in place of
Teague and forward Mike Scott had 15 points off the bench for the
Hawks, who scored a combined 69 points in the second and third
"Obviously we made a lot of shots, but I thought our defense got
better as the game went on," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
"It's just a great team win. You go up and down the roster and
different guys were contributing at different times. That's what
we're trying to build as a team."
Forward LeBron James scored 21 points and forward Kevin Love had 13
points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Cavs after he missed the
morning shootaround with flu-like symptoms. Cleveland lost for the
first time in its last nine games against the East and the first
time at home in nearly a month.
"That was embarrassing how we played," Cavs coach David Blatt said.
"I apologize to all the good fans that came out here as they always
do. Just a poor, poor performance."
[to top of second column]
Two of the Cavs' worst defensive performances have come in the last
three games now after the New Orleans Pelicans shot 56 percent
against them in a 119-114 loss last Friday.
"The pride of actually defending one-on-one and actually guarding
your man is something we have to learn," James said. "Rely on help
Guard Dion Waiters scored 21 points off the bench and guard Kyrie
Irving had nine points and six assists for the Cavs. Irving returned
to the court after the game for a 45-minute shooting session after
complaining in recent days he is struggling to knock down open
"Just getting good looks, just got to knock them down for the team,"
Irving said. It's frustrating for myself when I'm getting the looks
I want to get and they're rattling in and out or I'm being lazy with
my jump shot. I just have to figure it out. Tonight getting extra
shots up, it's just something I felt I needed to do."
NOTES: The Hawks were beaten by 31 points in a game at Cleveland
last month. The Cavs began that night making nine consecutive
3-pointers. "We put in a special request that they don't do that
again," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer joked. ... G Dennis Schroder
started in place of Jeff Teague (hamstring) at point guard. ... G
Kyrie Irving is the only player in the league averaging at least 20
points, 5.0 assists and less than two turnovers per game. ... Cavs G
Mike Miller missed his seventh consecutive game on Wednesday. He has
been cleared of his concussion, which forced him to miss the first
six games, but coach David Blatt said Miller still has a stiff neck.
"Honestly, he really could've got out there," Blatt said. "We just
decided to give it one more day."
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