Kevin C. Cox
Jeff Teague's career-high 27 points helped spark the Atlanta Hawks to a come from behind 102-94 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night.
Larry Drew asked for more from Jeff Teague and on Friday night the young point guard delivered against the Cavaliers. Teague responded by scoring 14 of his career-high 27 points in the fourth quarter and helped lead the Hawks to a come from behind win against Cleveland. Teague hit 11-19 shots, 3-6 from downtown and handed out eight assists. It was the kind of performance that Josh Smith and the rest of his teammates are looking for from Teague.
"As he goes, in all seriousness, whenever he is aggressive on both ends of the floor it sets the tone for us and we are a successful team. He understands now. He's coming into his own. He understands where we need him to be."
Atlanta led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter before the Cavaliers closed the half on a run that was finished off by a wild half court buzzer beater from Kyrie Irving that pulled Cleveland within a point at 55-54. However, Teague's jumper with 2:32 remaining put Atlanta back in front for good. They would score the last nine points of the game and held Cleveland scoreless for nearly the final three minutes.
Following the game, Larry Drew wasn't ready to take the credit for lighting a fire under Teague. "I didn't say a word to him," Drew said of Teague. "I would like to take credit for it but, no, I'm not going to do it. He just came out and played. He played with the energy and the intensity I've always said when he plays with that type of energy he makes us a much better ball club. He came out and took the challenge."
Teague's big night helped offset the big night of Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving who finished with 28 points and five assists. Irving missed the first meeting between the two clubs with a finger injury but made his presence felt Friday night. However, with Teague leading the charge it was the Hawks that made enough plays down the stretch to pull out the victory.