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Game Recap: Cavs Clip Hawks in Home Blowout, 127-94

David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

The Cavaliers started the night with a Shawn Marion miss. Let’s just say there weren’t many more of those after.

LeBron James led the Cavaliers again with 32 points on 13-20 shooting (4-5 from 3), 6 rebounds, 7 assists, and a block. Paul Millsap was the top contributor for the Hawks with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Kyrie was the 2nd leading scorer for the Cavs, as he finished with 20 points on 6-9 shooting (4-7 from 3), 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Kevin Love had 13 on 5-12 shooting with 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Anderson Varejao had only 2 points, but added 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Tristan Thompson played 24 minutes off the bench for 15 points, 7 rebounds, an assist, 2 steals and a block. When Thompson was on the floor, the Cavaliers outscored the Hawks by 38 points. Dion Waiters played arguably his best game of the year finishing with 9 points, a rebound, but 8 assists, and 4 steals as the Cavaliers outscored the Hawks by 45 points with Waiters on the floor. Finally, the silently impressive rookie Joe Harris had 12 points (4-5 threes), 4 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal to round out his night. Here are the highlights for YOUR Cleveland Cavalier’s very impressive victory over the Atlanta Hawks:

Plenty were impressed by Cleveland’s dominating performance:

First Half: Strong Start

It was that kind of night for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the exact opposite for the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks were absolutely rolled in the first half. Cleveland was absolutely on fire as it made its first 11 three point shots, including an utterly blistering 9-of-9 in the first quarter alone where they outscored the Hawks 41-25. No team in NBA history has ever shot 9-of-9 from 3 or better in any single quarter before the Cavaliers did it tonight.

It only got better for the Cavs as they used a 16-0 run to extend the lead mid-way through the 2nd quarter to 29-64. They finished the quarter outscoring Atlanta 30-18 to take a 71-43 lead into halftime. The contributions were coming from everyone. James, Irving, and Love got theirs, but Dion Waiters was playing aggressive as well as looking for his teammates. Rookie Joe Harris came off the bench and knocked down a pair of triples as well. Defensively, they basically shut down everyone on that Hawks team with the exception of Paul Millsap who had 14 at the half.

LeBron caught fire early, then shared the flame with his teammates:

Second Half: Strong Finish

The 3rd and 4th quarters were also good to the Cavaliers, who basically ended the game and Atlanta’s miniscule hopes of any comeback. They ended the 3rd on an 11-2 run to further extend their lead to 37 at 64-101. The 4th was fairly neck-and-neck until another Cavalier run. This one was a little shorter at 8-0, but it was highlighted by a Lou Amundson dunk and a pair of Joe Harris 3 pointers to put the Cavaliers up 41 at 75-116. Joe Harris finished with a career high 12 points in 21 minutes before fouling out, giving the Cavaliers extremely good minutes at the shooting guard position.

The Cavaliers knocked off the Hawks with the final tally being 127-94. Cleveland had 6 players in double figures, but more importantly had 5 guys with 5 assists or more (Joe Harris finished with 4). Cleveland was in the bottom 10 in assists coming in, but had a blistering 39 assists on 49 made field goals, meaning 80% of their shots were assisted on the night. They also had 47 rebounds, 12 steals, and 3 blocks while only committing 13 turnovers. Also worth noting is that while the Cavs shot 54.4%, they set a franchise record with 19 made three pointers and shot 61.3% from downtown.

If Harris continues to play like this, there’s no reason why he couldn’t be inserted into the starting 5. Shawn Marion was signed in the offseason to be LeBron James’ backup, but with Dion Waiters struggling to fit with the starters, Marion was inserted to give Cleveland a scoring punch off the bench in Waiters. So far, Harris doesn’t seem to be the type of player that needs the ball to be effective like Waiters, so he’ll fit perfectly into the starting 5 as a catch-and-shoot player.

The offense has been there for Cleveland all season, but today they won with defense:

And 1

The Cavaliers looked absolutely outstanding in a complete and strikingly good offensive as well as defensive 48 minutes. On the defensive side, the Cavs’ night was highlighted by their active hands, getting to the shooters, and a highlight-reel block on a Hawks’ fast break by LeBron James. They forced the benching of Kyle Korver in the 2nd half. With the Hawks being likely the most balanced scoring team in the NBA, Korver finished scoreless, Paul Millsap had 16 points, the explosive Jeff Teague was held to single digit scoring with 5 points, Al Horford finished with 12, and Thabo Sefolosha, who started for the injured DeMarre Carroll, has 10 points to round out their starters’ scoring numbers. Most of the Hawks bench scored in garbage time of the 4th quarter with the game out of hand. Cleveland forced Atlanta to shoot 44.4% on the night, 13.6% from 3, and held them to 37 rebounds, 27 assists while forcing 18 turnovers, something the Cavaliers have not been very good at.

Cleveland will look to extend their excellent 4-game win streak to 5 against the Denver Nuggets Monday night back at Quicken Loans Arena.

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