Hawks Pull Past Cavaliers
Wrap-Up – With Anderson Varejao still on the shelf and Boobie Gibson out with a concussion suffered in the second quarter, the Cavaliers closed Friday’s game with two rookies and two second-year players on the floor – and it showed.
After playing a solid first 46 minutes, the Wine and Gold couldn’t get a good possession in the final two and were outscored, 9-0, down the stretch. The result was a 102-94 loss on Friday night at The Q, snapping Cleveland’s two-game win streak.
The Cavs starting backcourt did most of the heavy lifting against Atlanta. Kyrie Irving led both teams with 28 points on 12-for-20 shooting. The reigning Rookie of the Year added six boards, five assists and a game-high four steals. Dion Waiters added 18 points, going 7-for-21 from the floor with four helpers, five rebounds and three steals. Tyler Zeller pitched in with a dozen points and seven boards and C.J. Miles chipped in with 10 points off the bench.
Turning Point – After letting a seven-point fourth-quarter lead slip away, the Cavs went back up by a point, 94-93, with 2:53 remaining in regulation on Kyrie Irving’s layup. But those would be the last points the Wine and Gold would score on Friday. Jeff Teague’s 18-footer gave Atlanta the lead and just over a minute later, Kyle Korver drained a three-pointer that essentially put the game on ice. The Hawks would go on to outscore the Cavaliers, 27-14, in the final period.
Game Ball – Kyrie Irving – For the 14th time this season, the former Blue Devil led the Wine and Gold in scoring – topping the 20-point plateau for the 12th time. Kyrie was 4-for-7 from beyond the arc, including a dynamic line-drive three-pointer from just inside halfcourt to end the first half. Cleveland’s starting point put up crooked boxscore numbers in every department but one – turnovers – committing just a single miscue in 38 minutes of play.
By the Numbers – 1.000 … Cavs’ free throw percentage against the Hawks on Friday night. Cleveland has connected on 35-of-36 free throws (.972) against the Hawks this season. The last time the Wine and Gold were perfect from the stripe was February 16, 1999, when they went 14-of-14 against Orlando
Quotable – Coach Byron Scott, on the closing minutes of Friday’s loss to Atlanta …
“That was a good example of youth versus experience. If you don’t know what I mean, the last three minutes of the game, the Hawks did a heck of a job of running their offense and getting the ball into the paint and we just settled on bad jump shots. That’s the biggest difference.”
Up Next – Because it’s still December, that means the Cavaliers will play the second-game of a weekend back-to-back on the road. They travel to Brooklyn for their final game of 2012. After New Year’s, they welcome the Kings to The Q on Wednesday night before heading to Charlotte next Friday night.