The Cavs clinched the Eastern Conference top seed with an easy 109-94 win over the Hawks tonight at the Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland. Kyrie and LeBron were unstoppable tonight as both had huge games and led their team from the front. The Cavs will be pleased that the star men are hitting their stride just at the right time, as the post-season is almost here. The Cavs are 57-24 now, 2.5 games ahead of the Raptors with 2 games to go. They have clinched the Eastern Conference top seeding for the first time since LeBron returned to his hometown. The Hawks meanwhile lie in the midst of a battle with the Celtics, Heat and Hornets to finish in the top 4 for the home court advantage during the playoffs. They are now 48-33 and need another win to seal the home court advantage.
LeBron James, who has been on fire of late as the post-season gets closer continued his great form as he led the Cavs with 34 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. He shot a great 13-16 from the field including 75% from behind the arc. Kyrie Irving also had a huge game as he recorded 35 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Kevin Love had a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds along with 2 assists and 2 steals. Tristan Thompson had 9 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 steals. Matt Dellavedova added 10 points and 3 assists, coming off the bench.
Kent Bazemore led the scoring for the Hawks as he ended the game with 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals. Jeff Teague added 21 points, 9 assists, and a steal. Al Horford ended the game with a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds along with 2 assists and 2 blocks. Paul Millsap had a poor shooting night as he ended the game with just 9 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks, shooting 3-14 from the field. The Hawks bench also had a nightmarish game as 3 of the players coming off the bench contributed a grand total of 0 points. Tim Hardaway Jr. was the best of the worst as he ended the game with 8 points and 2 rebounds. The Hawks had a horrible time shooting free throws tonight as they made only 53.3% of them, compared to the Cavs’ 90%.
The Hawks drew the first blood as they took the first quarter 26-22 on the back of a 10-0 opening run. The Cavs recovered a bit and managed to keep the deficit down to just 4 as they closed the quarter with a 12-6 run. The Cavs opened the 2nd with an 8-2 run as they took the lead for the first time in the game. The Hawks replied with a 10-2 run to restore a 6 point lead. Bazemore scored 8 of these points for the Hawks, including two huge 3s. From then on, it was one-way traffic as the Cavs closed the quarter with a 19-5 run to take the quarter, 29-19 and went into the halftime break leading 51-45. The 3rd quarter saw LeBron take center stage and dominate the Hawks defense. He was unstoppable as he scored 19 of his 34 points in this quarter. He made 7 of his 8 shots and was equally good inside the paint and outside it. He was great at the defensive end too as he grabbed some great rebounds and made some steals. The Cavs opened with a 12-5 run and LeBron scored 7 of them, including this great driving layup. The Hawks fought back with a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to just 3. LeBron then took over and made a 26 footer followed it up with a 3 point play and a 6 footer shot to restore a 7 point lead to the Cavs. The Cavs closed the quarter with a 15-7 run to take it, 39-30 and went into the final quarter leading, 90-75. The 4th quarter saw LeBron benched for a well-deserved rest and Kyrie made sure his teammate didn’t need to come off it as he took care of business himself. He scored 9 points in the opening 4 minutes of the quarter. He scored 13 points of the 19 Cavs managed in the 4th. The 4th quarter saw the Cavs retain their lead comfortably and close out the game, 109-94.
The Cavs face the Pistons at home on Wednesday in the final encounter of their regular season. Pistons are likely to be their opponents in the first round of the playoffs. The Hawks meanwhile play the Wizards away in their final game of regular season, needing a win to seal the home court advantage for the playoffs.