Notebook: Hawks 102, Cavaliers 94



Posted Dec 28, 2012 11:34 PM

By Brian Dulik, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Point guard Jeff Teague collected a career-high 27 points and a game-high eight assists, leading the Atlanta Hawks to a 102-94 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Shooting guard Lou Williams added 16 points for Atlanta, while center Al Horford chipped in 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Point guard Kyrie Irving had 28 points, five assists and four steals for Cleveland, which also received 18 points and a career-high six rebounds from shooting guard Dion Waiters. The Hawks outscored the Cavaliers 27-14 in the fourth quarter to earn the road win.

QUOTABLE: "As Teague goes -- when he plays aggressive like this -- it sets the tone for this basketball team. He's always been confident, but point guard is probably the hardest position to grasp in the NBA. He's going to be just fine."
-- Hawks power forward Josh Smith

THE STAT: Teague is averaging 18.3 points and 9.0 assists since Atlanta coach Larry Drew sat him down for a heart-to-heart talk three games ago. "Coach pulled me aside after the Philly game (on Dec. 21) and told me to bring more energy," the fourth-year pro said. "I was just being aggressive out there again tonight." During the same timeframe, Teague is shooting .488 from the field, .500 beyond the arc, and 1.000 from the foul line -- significantly above his season marks in all three categories.

TURNING POINT: After Teague put the Hawks ahead 95-94 with 2:33 left, the Cavaliers took back-to-back poor shots that resulted in five Atlanta points. Irving misfired on a 27-footer with seven seconds on the shot clock, leading to a Horford jumper that made it 97-94. Waiters then jacked up a 22-footer that was off the mark, setting up a 3-pointer by Atlanta small forward Kyle Korver. "I wasn't really happy with the execution in the last two or three minutes," Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. "That's an understatement -- and I let them know."

QUOTABLE II: "Jeff was great tonight. This was the best game in his career. He scored my jersey number (27). We need Jeff to play like this because he's so important to our team."
-- Hawks center Zaza Pachulia

HOT: Hawks power forward Anthony Tolliver made 5-for-7 shots, including 2-for-3 3-pointers, in 20 minutes off the bench. He also scored a season-high 13 points and tied his 2012-13 high-water mark with four rebounds. "Anthony gave us some big minutes and he hit some big shots," Drew said. ... Smith stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, six rebounds, six assists, and five blocked shots in three quarters of work. ... Atlanta's substitutes outscored their Cleveland counterparts 27-18 and outrebounded them 14-7. "It was all about energy," said Pachulia, who had nine points and seven boards in 26 minutes. "Energy, energy, energy."

NOT: Cavaliers shooting guard Daniel "Boobie" Gibson suffered a concussion when he collided with Hawks shooting guard Anthony Morrow in the second quarter. Gibson did not travel with the team to Brooklyn following the game. ... Morrow strained a right hip muscle late in the first half and did not return. ... Smith aggravated his injured hip flexor in the third quarter, forcing him to sit out the fourth. "I should be OK for tomorrow after a night of rest and some treatment," he said. ... Cleveland had 11 shots blocked by Atlanta. .... The Cavaliers have lost four straight home games and are 3-10 at Quicken Loans Arena on the season.

QUOTABLE III: "I didn't say a word to [Teague] tonight. I'd like to take credit for it, but I can't. He just came out and played. When he plays with that energy, he makes us a much better team."
-- Larry Drew

GOOD MOVE: Waiters already has a reputation as a streaky shooter, which the Hawks used to their advantage in the second half. The first-round draft pick from Syracuse was given space on the perimeter by Williams and Teague -- and missed all eight of his field goal attempts after intermission. "It wasn't anything we did, he just missed shots," Teague said. ... Atlanta played under control offensively at crunch time, allowing it to end the game with a 9-0 run. "That was a good example of our youth versus their experience," Scott said. "That's the bottom line."

BAD MOVE: Smith refused to attack the rim against the Cavaliers' short-handed frontcourt, settling for perimeter jumpers in a 2-for-12 shooting performance. "J-Smoove" also committed four turnovers in the first quarter and finished with a game-high tying five. ... Scott used power forward Luke Walton as Cleveland's first big man off the bench, but received just two points and four fouls in 19 minutes from the former Lakers fan favorite. ... The Cavaliers signed point guard Shaun Livingston on Christmas Day, but have yet to use him in a game.

NOTABLE: Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao (right knee bruise) missed his fifth straight game and will not play Saturday at Brooklyn. The NBA's leading rebounder has been sidelined since taking a hard fall to the floor on Dec. 18 against Toronto. ... All fans in attendance received a Varejao wig, allowing them to look just like the mop-topped Brazilian. "It's really sad I can't play on my night," he said, laughing. ... Hawks point guard Devin Harris (left foot soreness) sat out his fifth game in a row, while power forward Ivan Johnson (stomach flu) and shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson (knee soreness) were both held out.

UP NEXT: For the Hawks, Saturday vs. Indiana, Monday @ Houston, Tuesday @ New Orleans. For the Cavaliers, Saturday @ Brooklyn, Wednesday vs. Sacramento, Jan. 4 @ Charlotte.