The Cleveland Cavaliers had 18 offensive rebounds tonight in a 113-111 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, but none proved bigger than the carom that fell into the hands of Cavs forward Alonzo Gee in the final seconds that he putback for the winning basket, ending the Hawks’ six-game winning-streak.
Cleveland rookie guard Dion Waiters hoisted up a Hail Mary from long-range in the closing seconds and his prayers were answered when Gee was there to catch Waiters’ attempt, that barely grazed the left side of the rim, and quickly lay the ball in before the clock expired, leaving just .04 seconds remaining.
With the Hawks players, and fans, absolutely stunned by what just happened, the ball was inbounded to DeShawn Stevenson, but for no reason as the game clocked expired the instant the ball touched Stevenson’s hands.
Cavs backup point guard Jeremy Pargo was the star of the game late as he torched Atlanta, scoring 10 of his team-high 22 points in the final eight minutes of regulation. Pargo shot 9-of-13 (69.2 %) from the field overall and added two assists, two steals, and one rebound in 31 minutes of action.
Teammate Anderson Varejao was incredible in the contest, posting a double-double performance of 20 points and 18 boards, while shooting 7-of-12 (58.3 %) from the floor. Waiters had a rough shooting night from the field but was terrific at the foul-line, hitting all seven free-throws, totaling 21 points to go with seven assists. The game-winning Gee (13) and UNC product Tyler Zeller (10) were also in double-figures.
Atlanta had six players drop double-digits, with the high-point man Josh Smith finishing with 25 on 9-of-19 shooting (47.3%) overall. Al Horford tallied a double-double in the match with 15 points and 11 boards, while adding five assists and one block on 50% (6-of-12) shooting.
Lou Williams may have had the best night shooting the rock: 50% (5/10) on 2’s, 60% (3/5) on 3’s, and 100% (5/5) on 1’s. DeShawn Stevenson (12) got the starting nod and took six shots in the game, all from behind the arc, making four of them. Point guards Jeff Teague (15) and Devin Harris (13) rounded out Atlanta’s double-digit scorers.
The Hawks came out on top in most of the head-to-head stat categories against the Cavs, except in the battle of the boards, in which case Cleveland outrebounded Atlanta by a whopping 49-28 margin.
It’s hard to beat a team, regardless of what their record is, when you get manhandled on the glass the way Atlanta did.