After the Hawks’ loss to the Bulls back on Wednesday night, Atlanta was officially outside looking in on the playoff race. They came into Friday night’s game against the Cavs like they wanted to do something about it.
The Hawks dropped an impressive 39 points in the first quarter, and they moved the ball with such eloquence and efficiency. They built their lead up to as many as 23, and Atlanta went on won easily 117-98 to reclaim the final spot in the East.
Mike Scott came off the bench and was an immediate spark, and would prove to be foreshadowing the performance he later put on in Phillips Arena.
The second quarter was a little bit sloppier for the Hawks, as they turned the ball over at a high rate, but they still held a 61-49 lead at the half. The third quarter was much better, as they regained their momentum and the ball continued to move all over the place. They ended up scoring 29 more points in the quarter, and had 90 points through three periods.
Atlanta would ride the hot hand of Mike Scott all the way to the buzzer, and they bounced back with an impressive 117-98 win over the Cavs. Scott ended up with 26 points, and he led a nice effort from the bench — as they scored 54 points as a unit. Jeff Teague’s late season resurgence continued to the tune of 20 points and 12 assists, and Paul Millsap added 16 points and 11 rebounds.
It wasn’t just the offense that led the way, although they did have 35 assists on 48 made shots, but their defense finally stepped up, as they were much crisper on that end of the floor. They held a red-hot Cavs team to under 100 points. The New York Knicks lost by one point to the Washington Wizards on Friday, which means the playoff drought lasted just one day, and the Hawks are now one game ahead of the Knicks in the race for the eighth seed.
The Hawks will look to build on this win when they take on the Pacers in Indiana on Sunday at 6 PM ET on NBA TV.