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Wrap-Up – After a dramatic late-game rally the previous evening in Boston, the Cavs left nothing to chance on Saturday night – jumping all over the Hawks from the opening tip and not letting up, extending their lead to as many as 43 points before cruising to the 127-94 victory at The Q.
The Cavaliers were historically good in the first quarter, becoming the first team in NBA history to go 9-for-9 from three-point range in a single quarter. LeBron James led the charge, canning his first three bombs and netting 11 of game-high 32 points in the first period. James, Kevin Love and Joe Harris all hit multiple threes in the first quarter – as the Wine and Gold shot a gaudy 78 percent from the floor.
LeBron needed just three quarters to notch his 32 points, going 13-of-20 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from long-distance. The NBA’s leading scorer this season, James added seven assists and six boards before taking in the fourth quarter for Cleveland’s bench.
Kyrie Irving followed up with 20 points, five assists and three steals – hitting all four of his treys in the final three quarters. Kevin Love finished with 13 points, six boards and five assists and Shawn Marion rounded out the Cavs starters in double-figures, going 5-for-7 from the floor for 11 points.
The Cavs got great production from their bench, even before Coach Blatt emptied it with the game well in-hand down the stretch. Tristan Thompson notched 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting and rookie Joe Harris had his second straight solid performance – going 4-for-5 from long-distance and finishing with 12 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Dion Waiters had nine points, but played a solid floor game – leading both teams in assists (8) and steals (4) in just 27 minutes off the bench.
Overall, the Cavaliers set a club record with 19 three-pointers on Saturday night. They finished two assists short of a Quicken Loans Arena record and had five players tally at least five helpers in the victory.
Turning Point – This one was never a game. The Hawks came to Cleveland winners of four straight, but the Cavs were all-business on Saturday. Atlanta scored first on Paul Milsap’s jumper, but that was really as good as it’d get for the Hawks. The Wine and Gold led by 16 points after one quarter and by 28 at intermission. They didn’t get closer than 23 points the rest of the way.
Scene and Heard – On Saturday night, the Cavaliers partnered with Komen Northeast Ohio and the Cleveland Clinic for Breast Cancer Awareness Night at The Q. The game featured pregame recognitions, pink hair paint and ribbon tattoos, in-arena messages and a “Survivor Ribbon” on the court at halftime.
By the Numbers – 79 … combined points of Cleveland’s fourth-quarter output on Friday night in Boston (38) and its first-quarter output on Saturday against Atlanta (41). Over their last four games, the Cavs are averaging 120 points per contest.
Quotable – LeBron James, on getting the Cavaliers going early …
”Coming off a back to back, I didn’t want us to have a slow start. I let guys feed off my energy and I just wanted to go off from the beginning and be aggressive and see where it takes us. It got us a huge lead in the first quarter.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers face a pair of Western Conference foes this week before departing for their only road game for the rest of the month. On Monday night, they welcome the Nuggets – who they topped by nine last Friday night in Denver. On Wednesday, they welcome the World Champion Spurs to Cleveland in a nationally-televised matchup. On Friday night, the Cavs travel to the nation’s capital to take on the Wizards before returning home for a meeting with the Raptors on Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena.