The Atlanta Hawks came into the game riding a six-game winning streak, and for most of the game it appeared that streak was going to be extended to seven, but the Cavaliers kept fighting and eventually got the 113-111 victory. Atlanta led after each of the first three quarters, including a 67-56 halftime lead, and a 91-82 third quarter lead. Defense was almost non-existent for either side in the game, as the Hawks shot 48.7% from the field and the Cavs shot 48.2%. Atlanta was hot from deep, shooting 12-of-20 (60%) from beyond the arc, but once again free throws were an issue as they shot 23-of-32 (71.9%) from the foul-line. The Cavs shot an incredible 21-of-22 (95.5%) from the stripe (made just two fewer than the Hawks on 10 fewer attempts).
The second quarter was the best example of the defensive futility, as the Hawks shot 55.6% from the field (for 38 points), while the Cavs shot 62.5% from the field (for 29 points). Ivan Johnson, in the nine minutes he played, was +18 (+15 in final 3 minutes of the second quarter), and hit a turnaround three at the buzzer from 30+ feet out to give the Hawks an 11-point lead at the half.
The Hawks were respectably close to the Cavs on the glass in the first (20-16), but were destroyed in the second half (29-12, 11-1 offensive). Anderson Varejao (18 rebs, 7 off.) and Tristan Thompson (15 rebs, 6 off.) combined for three more rebounds (and three more offensive rebounds) than the entire Hawks team (28 rebs, and 10 off.).
Despite the terrible rebounding performance, and total lack of defense, Atlanta still had a chance to win the game. Jeremy Pargo dominated the fourth quarter with 10 points, and for a stretch was able to get whatever he wanted near the rim. Jeff Teague was slow coming under screens, and Pargo waltzed into the lane on multiple occasions. Atlanta came back, thanks to a Josh Smith three (yeah), and a great late game inbounds play that freed Lou Williams up for a wide open corner three with 13.6 seconds remaining to tie it at 111 (cut towards the hoop, curled back behind a Smoove down-screen, both Cavs defenders got picked). Dion Waiters dribbled the clock down to three seconds, took a contested three, missed it (he says it wasn't an airball, but if it wasn't it sure looked like it) right into the hands of Alonzo Gee, who laid it up and in for the two point victory.
After escaping from a number of close games with victories, this loss seemed like it was coming. The Hawks have allowed teams to hang around in games a lot during their streak, and tonight it came back to bite them. Varejao was great with 20 points and 18 boards, while Pargo (22) and Waiters (21) led the Cavs backcourt. Josh Smith (25 points, eight boards, and three blocks), Lou Williams (18 points), and Al Horford (15 points and 11 boards) did their part offensively, but too many defensive lapses and a poor effort on the boards led to a deflating Hawks loss.