“Obviously a bad performance”, coach Tyronn Lue said. As you might not expect, it was the Hawks’ B-team that routed the Cavs.
The Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James had 36 points, 10 rebounds and six assists and the Cavs ran past the Boston Celtics 114-91 on Wednesday evening to move back into top place in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Boston was led by Isaiah Thomas with 35 points and Jae Crowder with 24. But with a decisive win over the Celtics earlier this week, it seemed as if they might have finally found the extra gear needed to get back to where they wanted to be. Paul Millsap scored 26 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 23 as the Hawks also cut Boston’s lead over third-place Toronto to two games. On the other hand, the Hawks are pretty stout defensively, as they give up the ninth-fewest opponent points per game and are fourth in defensive efficiency (again teamrankings.com). On this night, though, the Hawks were lights-out offensively with ball movement, spacing and a free-flowing system that worked to perfection.
“I think it’s probably more due to the fact that you get used to your environment”, Stevens said. If fact, they better get their acts together or a promising season will turn into a disappointing one in the drop of a dime.
– Speaking of the Hawks, they still haven’t clinched a playoff berth, but they now lead the Milwaukee Bucks by a half-game for the No. 5 seed. He’s developing nicely toward the end of his first season. After getting crushed by the Cavs on their home floor, the Boston defense allowed 71 points to the Hawks in the first half on Thursday night. One of the most glaring stats was on the boards, where the Celtics were outrebounded 52-38.
They hired a young, successful college coach, Brad Stevens, who brought with him an innovative approach, revolving around quick shots, offensive rebounding, team depth and players committed to gritty defence. He said, ‘This is big, we need this one.’ I don’t know if guys were exhausted. Atlanta got a big win at home last night over Boston.
Starters Paul Millsap (left knee synovitis), Kent Bazemore (right knee bone bruise), Thabo Sefolosha (right groin strain), Dennis Schroder (right mid-foot sprain) and Dwight Howard (rest) sat out the stunning victory.
He will miss the upcoming matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, but is expected to be ready to go by the time the playoffs begin.
“I’m doing everything possible to take care of my body, I’ve got a clear conscience with that”, he said. He finished with 27 points on 12 of 15 shooting to go with 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Maybe I’m still in denial, but I still feel that this game shouldn’t be considered be a sign of things to come. “It just took my out of my rhythm. And that was hard for me”. The Hawks have gone 3-7 in its last 10 games and is 19-20 away from Philips Arena this season.
The Boston Celtics crashed when they should have crested. Boston has won three straight overall four straight on the road in the series.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been a good, but a weird team this season.