Thursday, 22 June, 2017

Hardaway Jr., Hawks stun champion Cavs 114-100

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love center is surrounded by Boston Celtics players as he grabs a rebound during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday LeBron James had a boastful response to preparing for one of the Cavaliers' biggest games of the season
Kristopher Love | 20 April, 2017, 06:57

The veteran forward had 26 points and 12 rebounds to help the Hawks enhance their playoff hopes with a 123-116 victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday at Philips Arena.

Millsap didn't start for the second straight game as Budenholzer works him back from a sore left knee. Millsap was 8 for 15 from the field, 9 for 12 from the line and added four assists in 29 minutes. They've got a trio of All-Stars headlined by the best player in the world in LeBron James. Tonight is where we needed guys to pick up the energy and pick up the slack.

The Bulls are locked in a neck-and-neck race with in for seventh place in the Eastern Conference, with identical records of 39-40 following the Pacers' win on Thursday.

Fresh oxygen filled Boston's lungs after the loss, with the Celtics and Cavaliers now tied in the East. "I think J.R. (Smith) and Korver and Kevin (Love) and those guys should play a little bit because they've been out for so long and just try to keep J.R.'s rhythm and establish Kevin's rhythm and the same thing with Kyle.". The Hawks (41-38) led by as many as 20 points. "We're fine", Isaiah Thomas said after Thursday's loss.

The appeared to be dead in the water through three quarters as the Cavaliers bombed away with a barrage of three-point baskets.

Kyrie Irving scored 45 points for Cleveland and James had a triple-double with 32 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists before the four-time MVP fouled out in overtime.

"Ball movement, definitely ball movement (was the key)", Millsap said. "I thought maybe our guys could've got exhausted because we didn't push the ball in the fourth quarter". "It was a huge, huge game for us, and we lost. This is our team and if we continue to do that, we will be able to score".

ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (51-27): Irving scored 43 points on 14-of-21 shooting in last month's victory over the Hawks - Cleveland set an National Basketball Association record with 25 3-pointers that night - for one of his three 40-point outings this season.

Cavs: James has 13 triple-doubles and has scored at least 30 points 23 times this season. The Cavaliers have only themselves to blame for coughing up a 26-point fourth-quarter lead, and this latest meltdown will only lead to more questions about them heading into the postseason. He scored 15 points and pulled down 15 rebounds with Dwight Howard getting the night off for Atlanta, who still managed to tie their season high with 114 points.

IN coach Nate McMillan said he was encouraged by the grit shown by his team on their road trip. It was Kyrie Irving, however, who led the way for Cleveland with 42 points.

"It seems like there are times during the season - and it could be true - where we just say, 'the regular season is no big deal, '" Love said, relaxing in a quiet room before he spoke with hundreds of school kids at an area Boys & Girls Club.

Boston coach Brad Stevens liked what he saw, though, from his bench.

INDIANAPOLIS - Paul George had 23 points and 10 rebounds and IN beat Milwaukee to keep its playoff hopes alive.