Final Dime: Hawks 99, Cavaliers 83
Ramon Sessions notched 13 points in Sunday's loss at The Q.
David Liam Kyle
The trend of low-energy starts to Sunday afternoon/early evening games at The Q continued against Atlanta – as the Cavaliers fell into an early hole and spent the entire contest trying to work their way out.
The Hawks scored the first eight points of the ballgame and although the Cavaliers cut Atlanta’s lead to just three after that first quarter, they never managed to grab an advantage all evening – falling, 99-83, on Sunday night in Cleveland.
Atlanta’s starters outscored the Cavaliers opening lineup, 80-37, led by Marvin Williams’ season-high 31-point effort. Cleveland’s highest-scoring starter was Ramon Sessions, who finished with 13 points but didn’t see a minute of action in the fourth quarter.
“I still don’t have a clue what it is about Sunday games that we just don’t come with that same energy and intensity,” said Coach Byron Scott. “Tonight was another one of those games where we got off to a bad start. Our bench came in and did a really good job of getting us back into the game, but anytime you get outscored 46 to 18 by starters at halftime it makes for a long evening.”
Baron Davis led the Cavaliers with 19 points, going 6-of-14 from the floor and 5-for-5 from the stripe. Davis paced the Wine and Gold with seven assists to go with a steal and a team-high two blocked shots.
Daniel Gibson added 11 points off the bench, canning a pair of three-pointers, including a bomb that got the Cavaliers to within six, 69-63, late in the third quarter.
Alonzo Gee and J.J. Hickson added 10 points apiece, with Hickson doubling-up for the third straight game with a team-high 13 rebounds.
“I think all five starters, including myself, came out too slow,” said Hickson. “(Atlanta) got a lot of fast break and easy points in transition and that kind of was the ballgame for us.”
The Cavaliers shot just 37 percent as a team, including 25 percent from beyond the arc. Atlanta shot an even 50 percent from the floor, handing out 29 assists to just 16 for the Wine and Gold.
Cleveland wraps up its five-game homestand on Tuesday night when LeBron James and the Miami Heat roll into town for the final time this season.
2. The legendary voice of the Cavaliers, Joe Tait, made his return to The Q on Sunday night – announcing his first game after missing the entire year to undergo cardiac surgery. Tait was joined by Jim Chones for Sunday’s call against Atlanta.
“I just wanted to go out, as they say, standing up,” said Tait before tip-off. “I wanted to go out working, as opposed to staying out there on the farm and letting the season end without at least coming back for a few games. We kept pushing that date back and back and back. But, hopefully, I can do the final five.”
3. In 11 Sunday games this season, the Wine and Gold have yet to win. They only have one more Sunday game remaining and, luckily, it’s against the one team (New York) that’s yet to beat Cleveland this year.
4. Samardo Samuels left the game late in the third quarter favoring his right wrist. The diagnosis was a wrist sprain and X-rays were negative.
5. J.J. Hickson notched his third straight double-double and is averaging 17.0 points and 15.0 boards over that span. Sunday marked Hickson’s 20th double-double of the season and 24th of his young career.
6. J.J. didn’t attempt a free throw on Sunday night, but came in hitting 23 of his last 25 attempts.
7. Christian Eyenga has learned a few rookie lessons during his first season in the NBA, but one of the most important is to remember to pick up Krispy Kreme donuts for the veterans. The first-year player from the Congo neglected that duty and wound up with his car filled with pop corn.
“I talked to (Christian) this morning because he was a little ‘salty’ – he wasn’t happy,” said Coach Scott. “And I said, ‘If you’re mad, you’re mad. Say you’re mad.’ I said, ‘But you are a rookie and when veterans ask you to do something, you do it. And if you don’t, these are the consequences. So now you know.’”
8. In his six games since being dealt to the Cavs, Baron Davis is shooting an even 50 percent (17-for-24) from beyond the arc.
9. The Cavaliers will end the season by playing their final 10 games in just 16 days.
10. After missing Friday night’s win over Detroit, Browns cornerback Joe Haden made his return to The Q. Haden sported an Antawn Jamison No. 4 road wine jersey, but didn’t go with the shorts-wristband-headband ensemble.
Joe Gabriele is the official beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Cavs.com. You can follow Joe and send him your questions on Twitter at @CavsJoeG.