Cavaliers Comeback Falls Short Against Atlanta

Hawks Capitalize on Cleveland's Slow Start, Hold Off Late Rally
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Wrap-Up -- When the Cavaliers dropped the Wizards on Friday in D.C., it seemed like they’d finally shaken themselves out a funk that plagued them through late October.

But it was one step forward and two steps back for a Wine & Gold squad that watched the rebuilding Hawks – riding an eight-game losing streak – come to The Q and hand them a 117-115 loss on Sunday afternoon.

Normally, a team comes out on the winning end when their bench combines for 64 points. But on Sunday, Cleveland’s starters tallied just 51 points – with LeBron James accounting for more than half of them.

The Cavaliers followed the exact formula that led to their undoing over the recent skein – falling behind early to an inferior foe, spending the next three quarters trying to catch up and running out of gas trying to rally late.

On Sunday, against a Hawks team that hadn’t won since the opener, the Cavs trailed by as many as 16 in the first quarter. They trailed by as many as 12 with 3:24 to play in the fourth quarter before going on a furious late run to get within two, but that was as close as they’d get.

LeBron James followed up his 57-point outburst on Friday to lead Cleveland with 26 points in Sunday’s loss – going 10-for-17 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the stripe, adding a game-high 13 assists to go with five boards, two blocks and a steal.

The only other starter to notch double-figures was Derrick Rose, who finished with 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting.

Aside from James, the Cavaliers’ four other starters were a combined 9-for-29 shooting.

The Wine & Gold’s second unit, however, was a different story. Dwyane Wade had easily his best scoring game as a Cavalier – tallying 25 points in 32 minutes off the bench, going 8-of-19 from the field and a perfect 8-of-8 from the line to go with a team-high 11 boards, six assists and a block.

Kyle Korver was almost as good – adding 23 points in just 24 minutes of work, going 8-for-14 from the floor, including 5-of-11 from long-range, adding five boards and a block.

The Cavaliers were playing their second straight contest without starting center, Tristan Thompson, who suffered a strained left calf earlier this week. Kevin Love was reinserted into the starting lineup on Friday and was at the 5 again on Sunday afternoon before falling ill and missing the second half of action.

The Hawks were led by Dennis Schroeder, who scored 13 of his game-high 28 points in the third quarter – finishing 9-for-13 from the floor to go with a team-best nine assists. Overall, seven Hawks finished in double-figures, with John Collins coming off the bench to double-up with 12 points and a game-high 13 boards.

Cavs vs. Hawks


Three Cavs score 20+ but it's not enough against Atlanta at The Q.

Neither team was particularly sharp on either end in Sunday’s matinee. Atlanta shot 48 percent from the floor; the Cavaliers, 44 percent. But once again, Cleveland struggled from beyond the arc – aside from Kyle Korver’s five triples, the rest of the squad was a combined 5-for-25 from deep.

Turning Point -- Sunday’s turning point, as many of Cleveland’s recent losses have been, came in the first quarter – with the Wine & Gold digging themselves a hole they’ll spend the rest of the affair digging out of.

Against Atlanta, the lethargic Cavaliers shot just 34 percent in the opening period while allowing the Hawks to hit on 72 percent of their attempts, including 6-of-8 from beyond the arc – en route to a 37-point first quarter.

Cleveland took a 3-0 lead on J.R. Smith’s triple to start the scoring, but the Hawks took a 6-5 lead with nine minutes to play in the quarter, extending it to 16 points at one point. The Cavaliers didn’t lead at any point the rest of the way.

By the Numbers.921 … Cavaliers’ free throw shooting percentage (47-for-51) over the last two games, including a 21-for-23 effort on Sunday afternoon.

QuotableLeBron James, on Cleveland’s listless first-half performance on Sunday …

”There was no energy. No energy. The effort was pretty bad. You turn a corner (against Washington), but you can’t fix it in one game. This is something that’s been going on for a while. We’ve just got to try to figure it out. But tonight, we fell into that again.”

Up Next -- After falling on Sunday afternoon, the Cavaliers play one more at home – a Tuesday night matchup with the Bucks – before getting out on the road for four games. On Thursday night, it’s a big nationally-televised matchup against James Harden, CP3 and the Rockets. On Saturday, Cleveland completes the Texas two-step against the struggling Mavericks in Dallas. The trip takes the Wine & Gold to New York for a Monday night rematch against Kristaps Porzingis and the Knicks before wrapping up on Wednesday night, taking on the Hornets in Charlotte.

Calls of the Game

#CavsHawks Postgame: LeBron James - November 5, 2017

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Sunday's loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Quicken Loans Arena.

Cavs vs. Hawks - November 5, 2017

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#CavsHawks Postgame: LeBron James - November 5, 2017

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Sunday's loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Quicken Loans Arena.
Nov 5, 2017  |  02:17

#CavsHawks Postgame: Channing Frye - November 5, 2017

Cavaliers forward Channing Frye spoke with the media following Sunday's loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Quicken Loans Arena.
Nov 5, 2017  |  02:09

#CavsHawks Postgame: Dwyane Wade - November 5, 2017

Cavaliers guard Dwyane Wade spoke with the media following Sunday's loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Quicken Loans Arena.
Nov 5, 2017  |  06:07

#CavsHawks Postgame: Kyle Korver - November 5, 2017

Cavaliers guard Kyle Korver spoke with the media following Sunday's loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Quicken Loans Arena.
Nov 5, 2017  |  02:25

#CavsHawks Postgame: Coach Lue - November 5, 2017

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Sunday's loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Quicken Loans Arena.
Nov 5, 2017  |  04:36

Wade Scores 25

Dwyane Wade scores 25 points and has 11 rebounds but the Cavaliers fall to the Hawks.
Nov 5, 2017  |  01:54

LeBron Scores 26

LeBron James scores 26 points and has 13 assists but the Cavaliers fall to the Hawks.
Nov 5, 2017  |  01:50

GAME RECAP: Hawks 117, Cavaliers 115

All 5 starters for the Hawks score in double figures lead by Dennis Schroder with 28 points as the Hawks defeat the Cavaliers, 117-115.
Nov 5, 2017  |  02:46

LBJ Says 'Get That Weak Stuff Outta Here!'

The Hawks think they have an easy bucket but LeBron James is there to stuff their shot attempt.
Nov 5, 2017  |  00:14

DWade Dimes LeBron Down Low

Dwyane Wade spots LeBron James under the basket for the easy deuce.
Nov 5, 2017  |  00:24

Korver Steps in for the Charge

Check out this Goodyear 'More Driven' highlight as Kyle Korver sacrifices his body to draw the offensive foul.
Nov 5, 2017  |  00:34

Highlight in freeD: Wade Says Bank is Open on Sunday

Check out this unique freeD highlight as Dwyane Wade plays the angles for this bank shot.
Nov 5, 2017  |  00:11

Highlight in freeD: Green Dimes KLove

Check out his freeD highlight as Jeff Green's patience pays off on the assist to Kevin Love.
Nov 5, 2017  |  00:13

Green with the Easy Flush

LeBron James drops it off to Jeff Green who deposits the easy dunk.
Nov 5, 2017  |  00:10

LBJ with the Putback Slam

LeBron James crashes the offensive glass and throws down the putback finish.
Nov 5, 2017  |  00:08