The Atlanta Hawks back to work on the basketball court Sunday afternoon facing off against the reigning Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers in Quicken Loans Arena. The Hawks were in desperate need of a win after losing the last eight straight and took aim at the struggling Cavs and Lebron James.
The Hawks inactives for Wednesday’s game were DeAndre Bembry, who is rehabbing a broken wrist, Miles Plumlee could return any day after dealing with a hamstring strain the last few weeks, Mike Muscala who did not travel with the Hawks and Malcolm Delaney who was a game time decision. Earlier this week the Hawks released a statement saying Ersan Ilyasova would miss the next week or two dealing with a bone bruise on his left knee. Also on the injury report was Dennis Schroder and Marco Belinelli who both played today.
In the first quarter, Atlanta came out blazing hot and at one point led the Cavaliers 25 to 10 early in the action. Dwayne Wade came into the game and gave the Cavs a slight spark on offense to draw within 10 but Luke Babbitt and Kent Bazemore closed the quarter hot to go into the second with a 37 to 28 lead.
In the second quarter, the Hawks and Cavs were equally flat with some good defensive spurts from both teams. Taurean Prince came to life midway through the second and really injected some life to the Hawks defensive efforts as both the Hawks and Cavs posted 17-point efforts in the second quarter to go into the break at halftime with the Hawks leading 54-45.
The Hawks came out of the break equally as hot as the first quarter and got the Cavaliers frustrated forcing fouls in the paint. Dennis Schroder erupted in the third with 13 points in the quarter including a stretch of two and-one layups and a pullup three to put the Hawks up big.
Lebron James began to post up in the third in an effort to get some easy offense for the Cavs who struggled shooting the ball. Isaiah Taylor came in at the end of the third and really gave the Hawks the boost going into the fourth quarter including this drive to end the quarter. Hawks led after three down 91-78.
The Hawks played some outstanding defense in the fourth quarter against some pretty poor offensive from the Cavs. Old friend Kyle Korver came out midway through the fourth and made a couple of difficult shots to pull the Cavs a little closer. The Hawks continued to play good offense down the stretch as Lebron James did everything in his power to bring the Cavs back.
Atlanta kept going to the basket against the Cavs and really shot the ball exceptionally. The Cavs made a late run as to be expected with any Lebron James led team but it simply was too-little too-late for the home team and the Hawks came out the winner despite some (very) interesting dynamics in the final seconds.
The Hawks scored 37 points in both the first quarter and third quarter against the Cavs today, parts of the game where the Hawks have struggled all season long.
The Hawks got contributions up and down the lineup: Taurean Prince scored 17 along with Luke Babbitt (setting a career high in minutes) who got the start today. Isaiah Taylor had 14 with John Collins double double off the bench for the Hawks. Dennis Schroder was outstanding in Sunday’s effort with 28 points and 9 assists to pace the Hawks. Dewayne Dedmon and Kent Bazemore (1 rebound and 3 assists shy of a triple double) were also great for the Hawks with each in double figures as well.
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Join us again tomorrow when the Hawks come back to the ATL to face off against the Celtics and the duo of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford.