Isaiah Taylor stepped to the free throw line with the Hawks ahead 117-115 with 11 seconds remaining in the game in Cleveland. One free throw could secure at least another five minutes of basketball if the Cavaliers were to get down the floor and make a three-pointer. Two free throws and the game was effectively over.
Taylor, who played his best game of the young season, missed both (He was 2-5 from the line for the game). The Cavs raced down the court with the rebound and Lebron James (26 points, 13 assists, five rebounds), who was virtually unstoppable during the fourth quarter, found Channing Frye wide open for three. Frye missed and Dwyane Wade missed a putback attempt.
The Hawks won their second game of the season (both on the road) by two points and displayed tons of patience down the stretch.
The key to the Hawks win could be summed up by how they played in the first quarter and in the fourth. Atlanta jumped out to their largest first-quarter lead of the season, 25-11, following an 11-2 run with a little more than four minutes remaining in the period.
Luke Babbitt opened their scoring with a three-pointer and found ways to score on the Cavs throughout the quarter. A dunk, a mid-range jumper, scoring on a post-up, Babbitt took every opportunity to try and earn another start. A Kent Bazemore three-pointer put the Hawks up 37-28 at the end of the quarter.
Atlanta finished the first quarter 9-11 from the field and 4-5 from three-point range, easily the most efficient quarter of the season. A huge part of that was reserve point guard Taylor who scored a season-high 14 points (6-12 FG) off the bench.
The Hawks would be outscored 21-16 during the second quarter and have their lead trimmed to nine points at halftime, 54-45, as Cavs guard Dwyane Wade (25 points, 11 rebounds and six assists) took over the quarter scoring nine points (He had eight points during the first quarter).
The Hawks lead would yo-yo up and down during the third quarter, going as high as 14 points with 3:46 remaining. The Cavs would trim their deficit during the fourth quarter but clutch free-throw shooting by Schroder (8-8 for the game) and just as clutch rebounding by rookie forward John Collins, who had another double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds, put Atlanta in the rare position this season, to stay ahead late in the game.
Taurean Prince and Babbitt each scored 17 points. Bazemore made up for his poor shooting from the field (4-11) and from the line (4-8) with a solid overall game; 14 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two blocks. Dewayne Dedmon chipped in 15 points and seven rebounds.
Atlanta will host the Celtics on Monday night.
• Hawks were outrebounded (47-44) for the ninth consecutive game.
• Luke Babbitt made his first start of the season in a sort of homecoming game. Babbitt was born and raised in Cincinnati before moving to Nevada with his family at age 9.
• Hawks shot 72 percent from the field during the first quarter, a season high. They also scored 37 points. Both are season highs.
• Both Babbitt and Taylor a season high in minutes tonight; Babbitt: 41 minutes, Taylor 26 minutes.
• Former Hawk All-Star Kyle Korver scored 23 points and was 5-11 from three-point range. Korver made a number of three-pointers late in the game that kept Cleveland close.