A day after trading a number of players including former Celtics All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas (Lakers) and former league MVP Derrick Rose (Utah), the Cleveland Cavaliers came to Atlanta with what one veteran sports writer on press row called a skeleton crew with the multiple players slated to join the Cavaliers later this week not yet in uniform.
They wouldn’t need any additional help on this night as former Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver would shoot 7-13 from three-point range en route to a 30-point night and another Cavaliers holdover named Lebron James, you may have heard of him, would chip in a triple-double with 22 points, a career high 17 assists and 12 rebounds. James would only turn the ball over three times during the game and would at times be willing his team to victory on both ends of the floor.
The loss was the second in a row for Atlanta -they lost 100-98 in Orlando on Thursday- after winning their previous two games. Atlanta was led in scoring by Dennis Schroder with 25 points on 10-18 shooting. Six Hawks players finished the game in double-figures.
The game would be tied at 15 early in the first quarter before the Cavaliers would separate themselves a bit to lead 31-27 at the end of the period. Atlanta wouldn’t go away however, tying the game at 45 and then taking a 50-45 lead after a Schroder basket and Kent Bazemore three-pointer. The Hawks would fail to lead again in the game as the three-time reigning Eastern Conference champions regained the lead before halftime and never relinquished it again.
Jose Calderon scored the Cavs first five points of the third quarter and Cedi Osman was found by James in the corners and connected on consecutive three-pointers of his own to put Cleveland ahead 75-68. It was Korver who would put the game out of reach for good with four consecutive three-pointers at the end of the third quarter, one of which came at the buzzer. On Korver’s shooting display Cavaliers head coach Tyrone Lue said, “He’s dangerous when he’s out on the floor. He played well tonight.”
Jeff Green came off the Cavaliers bench to score 24 points (he was not moved before the trade deadline) with Osman finishing with 16 points and Calderon added 11 points. Tristan Thompson had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Hawks forward Taurean Prince scored 15 points but was just 5-16 from the field. Rookie guard Tyler Dorsey scored 14 points to lead all Hawks bench players while Isaiah Taylor added 11 points.
Atlanta is back in action on Sunday afternoon (3:30 pm) against Detroit who lost at home to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.