The Hawks got an ugly reminder of the dominance of the Cavaliers – for three quarters.
The Cavaliers made an NBA regular-season record 25 3-pointers on their way to a 135-130 wire-to-wire victory over the Hawks Friday night at Philips Arena in a nationally televised game.
The Hawks made a fourth-quarter charge after trailing by as many as 25 points and got as close as one point, 124-123, with 1:32 remaining.
Then former Hawk Kyle Korver hit a 3-pointer with 1:17 left. After two Hawks misses, Kyrie Irving scored on a drive to re-up the Cavaliers advantage to six points. Paul Millsap hit a 3-pointer to re-close the deficit to three points, 129-126, with 24 seconds remaining. Irving hit six free throws down the stretch to seal the game.
The Cavaliers avenged an early-season loss the Hawks, their only win in the past 13 games dating back to the 2015 playoffs.
The Hawks (34-27) had a two-game win streak snapped and lost a chance to move back to a season-high nine games over .500.
Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Hawks with a career-high 36 points. Millsap had 27 points and Dennis Schroder had 17 points and Dwight Howard had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Cavaliers (42-18) have won six of the past seven games as they hold on to the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Irving led the Cavaliers with a game-high 43 points. LeBron James added 38 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. The game was the return of Korver, who was traded to the Cavaliers in January. He finished with nine points.
The Cavaliers took a 77-60 lead into intermission as they scored the most points against the Hawks in any half this season. By five points. They shot .652 from the field (30 of 46) and .609 from 3-point range (14 of 23).
The 3-point barrage continued in the third quarter. The Cavaliers led by as many as 25 points in the third quarter. They hit the 100-point mark with 1:36 remaining in the period and added seven 3’s to their total for 21. The Hawks got as close as 13 points with a 15-3 run after the Cavaliers took the 25-point lead. They would get no closer in the period and the Cavaliers took a 106-88 lead into the final 12 minutes.
The Hawks’ late charge made it a game
The Hawks retired Pete Maravich’s No. 44 in a halftime ceremony.