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For the first time since … well … the last time the Atlanta Hawks came to town, the Cavaliers had themselves some fun on their home floor.
After dropping their 12th straight home contest on Sunday – and in historic fashion – the Wine & Gold got back into the win column in their final game before the All-Star Break, thumping the Hawks, 127-105, on Wednesday night at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
The Cavaliers were solid on both ends of the floor and in the paint, their three big men all tallied double-doubles, and the second unit – led by Tristan Thompson – was dominant.
Thompson out-shot Atlanta’s Trae Young from beyond the arc, canning all three triples he attempted, finishing with a team-high 27 points in 26 minutes of work off the bench – going 11-of-16 from the floor overall, adding 11 boards (six off the offensive glass), an assist and a steal in the win.
Aside from a sloppy stretch early in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers were in control for almost the entire night. Atlanta took a short-lived five-point lead midway through the first period, but Cleveland bounced back immediately and closed the quarter with a flourish.
Andre Drummond doubled-up in his second start with the Cavs – finishing with 14 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, going 6-of-10 from the floor to go with a pair of blocks.
Larry Nance Jr., getting the start for an injured Kevin Love, continued his hot streak – playing an outstanding all-around floor game, netting a career-high 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting, adding 12 boards, two assists, three steals and a pair of swats.
Cleveland’s big men dominated on Wednesday night – outscoring Atlanta in the paint, 68-44, and dominating on the boards, 55-38, including a 17-9 advantage on the offensive glass.
Collin Sexton bounced back with a 23-point performance in the win, going 7-of-17 from the floor and 8-of-9 from the stripe, adding six assists and a steal. Darius Garland led the Cavs with seven assists to go with 12 boards and a steal.
Kevin Porter Jr. had another solid outing off the bench – pitching in with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc, adding four boards and three helpers.
Trae Young led the Hawks with 27 points and paced both teams with 12 assists, but the Cavaliers made the All-Star guard work for it – going 8-of-17 from the floor, including 2-of-7 from long-range.
Dante Exum gets the steal and bounces a no-look pass to Kevin Porter Jr. who rises up and throws down a powerful two-handed jam.
The Cavaliers took control of this one early.
After running out to an early lead, the Hawks bounced right back, with Trae Young drilling a three-pointer to give Atlanta a five-point lead, 11-6, with 6:31 to play in the first quarter.
That was,however, as good as it would get for the Hawks. Baskets by Andre Drummond and Kevin Porter Jr. gave the Cavaliers the lead back – and they would explode from there, going on a 21-5 run to break the contest open.
The Cavs would lead by 15 after one quarter, opened up a 20-point advantage in the second and a 23-point edge in the third before eventually cruising to the finish line in the fourth – punctuated by Tristan Thompson’s third and final bomb of the ballgame, a 32-footer from the top of the arc with 31 seconds to play.
16.1, .519, .500 … Kevin Porter Jr.’s scoring average – along with his shooting percentage from the floor (42-of-81) and from three-point range (16-of-32) over his last seven games.
Porter has notched double-figures in all seven of those contests, snagging at least one steal in five of those games and playing the final two without committing a single turnover.
Coach John Beilein, on snapping the 12-game home slide …
”I feel for all the fans. We’ve really worked hard; we’ve had some really disappointing losses that were last-minute losses and then we’ve had some blowouts here over that time. But I thought you saw tonight, our guys didn’t quit, they played hard and they played together – even without Kevin (Love). So, it was a great win. Every win is a great win at this stage.”
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and 87.7 La Mega's Rafa Hernandez-Brito.
Aside from Collin Sexton, who’ll represent the Wine & Gold in Chicago at the Rising Stars game, the Cavaliers get a nice mid-season break to re-charge the batteries – returning for a road back-to-back next Friday and Saturday, traveling to face the Wizards and Heat.
The Cavs then return home for a pair – welcoming the Heat and Sixers to town – before closing out the month of February with a road-home back-to-back against the Pelicans and Pacers.