Pacers 98 @ Cleveland 123 (Game 2, East semis, 05/04/16)

Well, it looked OK for the Hawks for about 5 minutes. The rest is history.

25 three pointers, the all-time record for one NBA game, were made by the Cavs, spearheaded by the streakiest shooter alive in JR Smith, who made seven, after nailing six in the first half.

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The Cavs’ JR Smith, with seven three pointers made, had a good workout of his picturesque jump shot. Photo courtesy of cavs.com

The Cavs’ Lebron James and Kyrie Irving had four apiece, Kevin Love had 3, Richard Jefferson had two, and five other players had one. The team shot 25-45, a 55% clip.

While I hate blow-outs, the game was a spectacle – the Hawks were playing respectable defense, especially on Smith, but there was no stopping JR, who has been in the starting lineup to stretch the floor, a good coaching ploy by rookie coach Tyronn Lue.

The score was 38-74 at half time – on eighteen threes.

Paul Millsap was the only impressive Hawk, scoring 16 and getting 11 rebounds by game’s end. He hit a buzzer-beating half court three at quarter time, but it left his fingers a fraction of a second after the siren went off.

The Hawks made some solid plays early on – Teague exploited Irving’s questionable defense, while the Hawks’ other point guard Dennis Schroder lobbed it to Al Horford for a nice alley-oop dunk.

But the Cavs ran away with the game after that, passing the ball beautifully, as seen when the Big 3 linked up off of an insane left handed pass to Irving in the middle.

Schroder had just 13 minutes, a puzzling choice by coach Mike Budenholzer as Schroder had 27 points in the game prior.

James passed Tim Duncan for fifth place in postseason scoring, finishing with 27 points, five assist and four rebounds, in another breezy performance.

The Hawks would be at a loss as to how they can improve for Game 3 in Atlanta – rushing the Cavs three point shooters would take away the outside shots, but the Cavs are too good in the paint to let them in there also. My sympathies are with coach Mike Budenholzer.

Highlights

Box score

 

 

Hawks 93 @ Cavaliers 104 (Gm1, East semis, 05/02/15)

 

The Atlanta Hawks’ key players came up short on Sunday night, as the Cleveland Cavaliers cruised through the game to lead 1-0 in the Eastern Conference semis.

While the Hawks made an admirable effort coming from 18 points down to lead in the 4th quarter with eight minutes remaining, the Cavaliers were seemingly on cruise control throughout the game.

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The Cavs’ Lebron James blocks the Hawks’ struggling Horford

LeBron James had 25 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds, yet was content with distributing from the perimeter until the final stages. He rarely drove unless on fast breaks,and didn’t bully the 200 pound Kent Bazemore in the post regularlyas he did on one occasion (see the 50 second mark ). I’m a huge Lebron fan, but I can’t help but think he could play from the post just as Jordan did in his later years (except the former is 250 plus pounds!).

Bazemore had 15 points and 8 rebounds, but missed all 4 threes that he took in the final quarter as well as turning it over twice in that period. I think he’d be more valuable as a 2 guard, who can defend, shoot threes sparingly and have less responsibility.

The Hawks’ All-Star frontcourt of Paul Millsap and Al Horford combined for just 27 points on 32 shots, while Kyle Korver couldn’t get the ball, with just 3 points and only one field goal attempt.

The lone bright spot for Atlanta was their backup point guard Dennis Schroder, who had 27 points, 15 of which came in the second half which contributed to the Hawk’s late run. He sped past most defenders on drives, and finished at the rim with his long arms (6’7″wingspan) although Kyrie had a nice block on him. Schroder also hit 5/10 three pointers, and had six assists.

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The Cavs’ James battles with the Hawks’ young gun Dennis Schroder.

For the Cavaliers, Kevin Love hit big 3’s but shot inefficently overall. I miss the tubby Love that dominated on the interior and in the post for the Timberwolves early in his career, instead of the modern skinny Love that is primarily a shooter and defensive rebounder.

Kyrie Irving had a solid day for the Cavs, scoring 21 points, including 9 in the 4th quarter, while his understudy Matthew Dellavedova had a few beautiful assists (being an Aussie, I have some Delly bias, as I think he deserves a big payday this summer as a defensive playmaker who can shoot).

Tristan Thompson was a beast, pulling in 14 rebounds, with 7 on the offensive end, an impressive feat considering he was going against premier rebounders in Millsap and Horford. The Hawks could really do with the big body of Tiago Splitter, who is out injured after hip surgery, to keep guys like Thompson and Love off the boards.

The Hawks made a late run based on Schroder’s play, but in the end the Cavs barely broke a sweat. The series remains in Cleveland for Game 2, and unless the Hawks’ All-Stars are more assertive and feed off of Schroder’s success, Celeveland are in for another breezy evening.

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Irving (21 pts, 8 asts), JR Smith (12 pts, 5 rbnds) and Love (17 pts, 11 rbnds) help James up.

Highlights

Box score