Hawks Fly High Against Lowly Cavs

A BIG win propels Hawks into the East's 8th spot

By Titus Falodun | 4/5/2014, 10 a.m.

ATLANTA - Who is Mike Scott?

Well, by the end of the night, the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers got REAL familiar with the 25-year-old Atlanta Hawks' forward, as he dumped buckets all over the floor, flooding the net with 12 of 13 shooting, for a game-high 26 points in a Hawks 117-98 victory.

"I was in a little shooting slump, but kept being aggressive, and kept getting extra shots, and they finally fell," Scott said.

The WHOLE bench was RED HOT, as they outscored the Cavs' 54-26. In addition, the Hawks' starters Paul Millsap (16 points and 11 rebounds) and Jeff Teague (20 points and 12 assists) dropped double-doubles in a total team domination.

"It's a great team win," Coach Mike Budenholzer said. "Our defense was solid for most of the game. We had a second quarter where we had nine turnovers but if we can start working on taking better care of the ball, then that's going to help us be better offensively."

Entering last night's matchup at Philips Arena, both the Hawks (33-42) and Cavs (31-46) were two of three teams legitimately vying for the eighth and final playoffs spot in the Eastern Conference (better known as the Miami-Indiana region of the NBA bracket). Cavs came into last night just two games behind the 9th place Hawks, who had one less loss and win than the 8th spot-holder New York Knicks (33-44).

BUT the Knicks lost a nail-biter at home to the playoffs-bound Washington Wizards 90-89 yesterday, as the Hawks swoop one game ahead of them.

For the Cavs, the loss is just another reason why the season has been disappointing at best.

"We didn't move the ball," Spencer Hawes said. "You watched the way they [Atlanta] were whipping it around. And then on our end, we were taking quick shots, contested shots, playing one-on-one. They were hot. But it's not like they were hitting any crazy shots."

Dion Waiters was a perfect 4 for 4 from the field to start the game, with 10 points. But he went 4 for 15 for the rest of the game, finishing with 23 points.

When asked about his hot-to-cold performance, he let his short answers and stone-face express his frustration at the team's loss.

"I got to every spot I wanted to on the floor," the second-year guard out of Syracuse University said. "Missed shots--that's what happened."

True indeed. The Cavs just missed their shot on making into the postseason after an abysmal start to the season. For a team with high hopes going into this NBA year, things have not gone quite as planned with injuries and poor play.

Stud guard Kyrie Irving's short time with the Cavs is playing out like his one year at Duke University, and that's not good.

"I'm just trying to figure it out...make this transition back to the team seamless," he said. "We were playing so well the eight games I was out..."

This is Irving's second game back, following a torn bicep that put him out for an eight-game stretch.

Meanwhile, the Hawks have dealt with their fair share of key guys going down and coming back...and more, YET they find themselves in prime position, as they prepare to take on the Indiana Pacers (53-24), who are in their own battle with the Miami Heat (52-23) for the throne in the East.

Let's just say this coming up game, Sunday, April 6, at Indiana means A LOT to not just the teams playing but the entire playoffs' picture, from top to bottom. And this is why they play the game and spectators watch.