The Second Half
The third quarter saw much of the same as the Hawks just had no answer for the three-point shooting of the Cavaliers. They were outscored by one in that period.
Up until the 6:33 mark of the fourth quarter, the Hawks and Cavs were in a back-and-fourth shootout. The score was 117-100. Then, at that moment, Kent Bazemore made two free throws and somehow, some way, the tide turned in favor of the Hawks.
Hardaway, Paul Millsap, Kent Bazmore, and Ersan Ilyasova all contributed in an enormous 23-7 run to make it a one-point game at 124-123. Then, after coming off of a screen, like we have seen him do many times, Kyle Korver buried a three, this time silencing the Phillips Arena crowd instead of having them erupt.
After misses from Hardaway and James, Kent Bazemore triumphantly took the ball coast-to-coast all by himself, only to miss a point-blank layup that would have cut the game to two points with enough time coming back. The Hawks were forced to foul Irving, a 91% free-throw shooter, and he knocked them down to make it a six-point game. It was at that point that the crowd at Phillips started heading for the exits.
Despite heroic efforts from Bazemore, Millsap, Ilyasova, and, of course, Hardaway, the Hawks simply had no answer for Irving, James, and quite honestly anyone on the Cavs that attempts three-pointers.
Millsap’s great season continued with 27 points and 9 rebounds. Dwight Howard had a quiet but solid 15 and 10 in just 27 minutes. While Kent Bazemore struggled from the field, his defensive effort and energy kept the Hawks in the game. Ilyasova played excellently, going 4/4 and finishing with 10 points, 8 boards. He is really proving to be an absolutely perfect fit for the offense, while holding his own on defense. Taurean Prince and Malcolm Delaney both did well in their combined 19 minutes.
It was the combined 81 points from Irving and James that proved to be the downfall for the Hawks. Channing Frye, Derrick Williams, Richard Jefferson, and Korver all hit 3 three-pointers apiece. Shumpert added a couple as well.
This was an extremely fun game to watch from start to finish. The two match-ups this season have seen the road team winning each by a close margin after blowing a large lead in the fourth quarter. A potential playoff rematch would be interesting this time around.
Here are a few takeaways from the game.