Cavs Can't Rally Past Hawks

April 1, 2013
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Marreese Speights

Wrap-Up – The Cavaliers showed some serious fight on Monday night and were able to cut a 15-point Hawks’ fourth-quarter lead to six with under a minute to play, but they couldn’t close the deal and dropped a 102-94 decision in Atlanta.

After losing their previous eight, the Cavaliers were understandably on edge heading into the contest, and they racked up three technicals along the way – two on Boobie Gibson that earned him a trip to the showers midway through the second period and one on Luke Walton, who also drew the ire of the Philips Center crowd when he floored Ivan Johnson on a fourth quarter rebound attempt.

Without Gibson, C.J. Miles – who sat with a sore left ankle – and Kyrie Irving – still recovering from a shoulder injury – the Cavs found themselves behind by double-digits midway through the third. But behind Mo Speights, Omri Casspi and Walton, Cleveland made a late run. It wasn’t enough, however, as the Hawks were able to ward off the Wine and Gold’s final push.

Speights led the Cavaliers with 23 points in 24 minutes off the bench. Shaun Livingston followed up with 14 points, six assists and five boards. Tyler Zeller added a dozen points on an efficient 4-for-6 shooting night and Alonzo Gee finished with 11 points to go with eight boards.

Turning Point – Unlike previous defeats, the Cavaliers came out strong to start the third period, cutting 10-point Atlanta lead to two – 58-56 – on Alonzo Gee’s three-pointer. But the Hawks went on a 14-2 to run that put Cleveland back down by double-digits. The Cavs were in catch-up mode the rest of the evening and couldn’t quite get over the hump.

Game BallMarreese Speights – Speights put the Cavs on his back in the fourth quarter, when he went 7-for-9 from the floor for 15 of his team-high 23 points. On the night, the rugged forward was 11-of-15 shooting, tied the team-lead with eight rebounds, adding two assists, a steal and the Wine and Gold’s only blocked shot.

By the Numbers42-15 … bench scoring for the Cavaliers and Hawks, respectively, on Monday night. Speights led the charge, but Omri Casspi added nine second-half points of his own. Luke Walton notched just four points, but chipped in with five boards, six assists and a game-high four steals.

QuotableDaniel Gibson, on his ejection in Monday night’s contest …

“I was upset about the shot (where no foul was called), and that’s how I got the first technical. The second one happened when things got a little heated (between me and DeShawn Stevenson), and that was my fault. I let my emotions get the best of me, and that took me out of the ball game. I don’t have any ill will towards (DeShawn).”

Up Next – With their final multiple-game trip in the rear view mirror, the Wine and Gold have just nine games remaining in 2012-13. They return to The Q to face off against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night and travel to Boston for a matchup the Celtics on Friday.