After a quick 21-point deficit for the Hawks on Friday night at Philips Arena, they clawed back to force overtime against the Cavaliers -- but ultimately dropped the back-and-forth OT, 110-108.
Falling behind 84-73 early in the fourth quarter, the Hawks once again found their groove offensively, helped by outside shooting. Kyle Korver hit two tough three-pointers, and Jeff Teague hit another with 3:32 remaining to give Atlanta a 92-88 lead. Kevin Love followed with a three-pointer of his own to cut it to a one-point game.
The Hawks went with Hack-a-Tristan with just over two minutes left, and he made just 1 of 4 to tie the game at 92-apiece. Paul Millsap's jumper with 2:04 left regained the lead for Atlanta. Following misses from both teams and an electrifying block by Kent Bazemore on a Love three-pointer, LeBron James found Thompson for an alley-oop to tie it at 94-94 with 54 seconds left in the game. Horford missed his second late point-blank shot in the paint, and James charged his way in to an easy layup to regain the lead for Cleveland. With 29 seconds left, Teague flew past his defender and hit a high-arcing layup off the glass to tie the game. On the Cavs' final possession, James attempted a fadeaway midrange jumper. Leaving it short, Bazemore grabbed the rebound and gave the Hawks the final shot with 4.9 seconds remaining in the game.
Unfortunately for Atlanta, that possession didn't result in a shot, as Teague was double-teamed and the ball was knocked away to result in overtime.
J.R. Smith began overtime with a three-pointer. After a Horford midrange make, Kyrie Irving dropped another one from deep to give the Cavs a 102-98 lead. Layups from Teague and Millsap tied it up again at 102-102 with just over a minute left. After a Thompson dunk, Horford hit a midrange jumper to knot it up at 104-apiece. On the ensuing possession, James drew a foul to head to the line with 35 seconds on the clock. He made one of two to give Cleveland a one-point lead.
Millsap's miss with 25 seconds remaining forced the Hawks to send Irving to the line for free throws. He hit both to put the Cavs up 107-104. A quick dunk by Millsap cut the lead back to one point with 12.6 seconds on the clock. Irving and Teague swapped two free throws to make it 109-108. Irving was fouled again, but missed one to give the Hawks another chance down by two with 6.9 seconds remaining. Horford's three-point attempt was just long, and the Cavs took the 110-108 win.
After quickly falling behind 5-0 to start the game, the Hawks bounced back with their strongest offensive stretch of the first half with a 17-5 run that reached the halfway mark in the first quarter. The Cavs would storm right back though, as the Hawks missed 10 of their final 11 shots in the period and trailed 32-23 heading into the second quarter. Atlanta shot just 33 percent in the quarter.
That cold shooting stretch continued in the second quarter where the Hawks made just five of their 19 field goals attempted in the period. Thabo Sefolosha's midrange jumper with 5:01 remaining in the half broke a 1-21 shooting slump extending back to 5:13 left in the first quarter. The positive in the quarter was Atlanta managing to slow Cleveland's offense, allowing just 23 points in the quarter on 37.5 percent shooting and just 20 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Despite the Hawks shooting just 30 percent in the first half, they went into the locker room down 55-41.
Coming out of halftime, Atlanta suddenly began hitting many of the open shots it missed in the first half. Millsap's three-pointer with 5:05 left was the fourth in the quarter and gave the Hawks their first lead since the first quarter. The 21-6 run gave Atlanta a 62-61 lead. The Cavs would bounce back once again though, finishing the quarter on a 16-9 run to take a 77-71 lead in to the final period. The Hawks assisted eight of their 10 field goals in the quarter and held Cleveland to just 1 of 9 from three-point range.
Millsap led the Hawks with 29 points and 12 rebounds on 12-22 shooting. Teague added 28 points and nine assists of his own on 9-23 shooting from the field and 8-8 from the charity stripe. Bazemore suffered a few tough falls, but he filled the box score with 12 rebounds, seven points, six assists, and three blocks. Korver was 4-6 from deep and was a +33 on the floor in the game. Hawks' starters were a +80, while the bench was a -90 on the floor. They finished the game shooting 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from beyond the arc.
The Hawks will have the weekend off before facing the Phoenix Suns at home on Tuesday night. Stay tuned for more coverage.