Lue Guides Hawks Past Struggling Cavaliers
Atlanta 100, Cleveland 94
CLEVELAND, Dec. 13 (Ticker) -- Tyronn Lue helped the Atlanta Hawks record a most improbable winning streak.
Lue scored a season-high 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting off the bench as the Hawks handed the Cleveland Cavaliers a seventh loss in nine games, 100-94.
"It's all about those guys in the locker room," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "They've been busting their butts. It's fun winning."
Joe Johnson collected 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Hawks, who had lost seven in a row to the Cavaliers and been just 1-10 on the road this season.
"This is a carryover from the last game," Johnson said. "We felt that if we could beat the Spurs, we could beat just about anybody in the league. Everybody kind of had a little swagger, and we came out and played hard."
Lue's 11-point third quarter enabled the Hawks to survive a 15-6 Cleveland scoring run, which sliced a 14-point deficit to 67-62 with 2:46 left in the period. Lue seemingly answered every time the Cavaliers gained some momentum to help Atlanta take a 78-68 advantage into the fourth quarter.
"We had a nice lead and we were able to withstand (Cleveland's run)," Lue said. "There is no way we should lose eight or nine games in a row."
Remarkably, Atlanta won despite failing to make a basket after Johnson's jumper opened an 86-74 cushion with 7:26 to play. After Harrington split a pair of free throws to make it 87-74 with 6:12 left, the Cavaliers pulled within five points on three occasions but got no closer.
"We're looking like we did during the exhibition season," Woodson said. "In the exhibition season, we really moved the basketball offensively. That's probably why we shot it so well.
"Lue is coming around and he's given us two good games back-to-back. So maybe he's starting to find himself."
LeBron James scored 39 points - his sixth straight game with at least 30 - but did not get much help from his teammates, who combined for just 55 points.
"It's too early in the season for me to get down," James said. "Especially with me being the leader of this team, I can't get down because it will rub off on everyone else."
Cleveland was playing without All-Star center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who is averaging 15.0 points and 7.5 rebounds, due to a sprained right knee.
"From our effort standpoint, it is an embarrassing loss for us," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "I don't care if we won or lost, just effort-wise, our effort was horrible. I am part of it. My effort was horrible too."
"(Atlanta) had nothing to lose and they came out and played," said Cavaliers forward Donyell Marshall, who scored eight points off the bench. "They came out and played a better game then we did. They played better defense. We're struggling right now."