HAWKS: Postgame Analysis | Game 2 | Hawks vs Cavs Second Round Playoff Series

Cavs 97, Hawks 82 | Game 3 | Philips Arena

The Basics

Recap | Box Score | Highlights
Quotes |

  • LeBron James carried Cleveland to 97-82 Game Three win over Atlanta at Philips Arena ... James finished the night with 47 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists.
  • The Cavaliers led by as many as 9 points in the first quarter before the Hawks started the second stanza on a 10-2 run to claim the lead ... Cleveland came back again and held a 47-46 advantage at the break.
  • Josh Smith led the Hawks in the first half with 12 points ... Joe Johnson and Flip Murray each had 10 ... LeBron James led all scorers with 22.
  • The teams traded runs in the third quarter with the Cavs eventually pushing their lead to 72-65.
  • The Hawks hit 7-11 FTs on the night while Cleveland was 21-29 from the charity stripe ... James was 12-16 alone from the foul line.
  • Cleveland won the battle of boards 46-23 ... James' 12 rebounds were a game-high and Anderson Varejao grabbed 10 caroms.
  • Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 21 points and 5 rebounds ... Josh Smith added 18 and 5 boards, and Flip Murray scored 17 off the bench.
  • The Cavs had only six players score, led by James' 47 ... Zydrunas Ilgauskas (14), Delonte West (12) and Mo Williams (11) also hit double-figures.
  • Game Four is set for Monday at Philips Arena (7 p.m. TNT, 790 The Zone).

Lang Whitaker's Three Things

1. For the first time in this series, the Hawks opened the game with effort either equaling or excelling that of the Cavs. Even though Cleveland led through two quarters, 47-46, the Hawks forced 5 turnovers and had double the offensive rebounds (6 to 3). Even in the second half, after Zaza Pachulia was bizarrely ejected by referee Bill Spooner for complaining about a missed blocking foul, and after the Hawks saw a series calls go against them on their home court, the Hawks continued to play hard and drive to the basket. More importantly, they defended the rim better than they have in any game thus far.

2. If John Thompson had been announcing this game, he'd have said over and over that Joe Johnson is a warrior. (Well, he would have said "wah-yuh." Even after he was taken off the court in Game Two in a wheelchair, Joe returned tonight to play 46 minutes and score 21 points. Joe also defended LeBron James for the majority of the game and, when he was able to avoid having to switch on a pick against Bron, he did a respectable job against King James. That said…

3. LeBron James was recently named the most valuable player in the NBA. So he's good, right? Well, when the Cavs control the tempo of the game, as they did in the second half tonight, LeBron is able to pretty much have his way with the Hawks. The Hawks have an unwavering team philosophy of switching on picks. Knowing that, LeBron orchestrated match-ups over and over against an overmatched Mike Bibby. LeBron finished with 47 points, 12 boards and 8 assists. (The rest of the Cavs combined for 50 points and 7 assists.) For the Hawks to have any chance to win Game Four and take this series back to Cleveland, they've got to do a better job keeping the ball out of LeBron's hands. Which is easier said than done.

Round 2 Recaps:
Game 2 - Cavs 105, Hawks 85
Game 1 - Cavs 99, Hawks 72

Round 1 Recaps:
Game 7 - Hawks 91, Heat 78
Game 6 - Heat 98, Hawks 72
Game 5 - Hawks 106, Heat 91
Game 4 - Hawks 81, Heat 71
Game 3 - Heat 107, Hawks 78
Game 2 - Heat 108, Hawks 93

Game 1 - Hawks 90, Heat 64