Rapid Reaction: Hawks Survive Late Rally from Cavs, Win 106-97

In what many expected to be an Eastern Conference Finals preview coming into Friday night’s contest between the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers, many probably left feeling the same way after the Hawks pulled away late in the fourth quarter thanks to some nifty Mike Scott mid-range shots and Jeff Teague come-from-behind blocks as the Hawks won 106-97.

The Hawks jumped out to a fast start scoring 36 points in the first quarter, going attacking the rim constantly led by mostly Teague and Paul Millsap. The Hawks made seven shots within 7 feet of the rim in the quarter as Cleveland just had no answer for the Hawks’ aggressiveness early on.

After shooting lights out in the first, the Hawks proceeded to struggle in the second quarter scoring just 17 points, making only basket around the rim. The Hawks were also 0-for-4 from deep in the quarter that included a rare Kent Bazemore corner 3 miss and a miss from Kyle Korver (his only shot in the quarter).

The Hawks outscored the Cavs by 30 points, 54-24 to be exact, inside as the Hawks showed they can beat an elite team, like Cleveland, in other ways and not a team that’s going to “live and die by the three.” What was even more impressive, though, was that Hawks were finishing those inside opportunities without the help of the officials as the Hawks only took 17 free throws on the evening.

In the fourth quarter, the Hawks held the Cavs to just 18 points to keep Cleveland from stealing the game late. The Cavs went 2-for-8 from deep in the quarter and just never got comfortable with the Hawks pesky, tenacious defense. Most notably, LeBron James, as the King had nine turnovers and a technical on the night as Coach Bud’s scheme and the Hawks frisky wing defenders gave LeBron headaches all night long that ended with James only adding one 3-point in the final quarter (along with Kevin Love only getting one shot, too).

The Hawks next game is tomorrow night at home against the Philadelphia 76ers at 7:30 EST.


  • A wild Elton Brand appeared after spending the last few months in a hibernation state and made an immediate impact blocking a shot at the rim and adding a nice mid-range jumper in six minutes. I’d like to see Brand get all of Pero’s minutes, but dividing them up in half is a nice start.
  • Shelvin Mack also made an appearance and was a -5 in five minutes.
  • I forgot Korver was on the floor for the majority of this game, but he was still a team-best +9. Even when he’s off he’s on.
  • Al Horford is going to be a problem for Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson in a seven-game series. Horford flirted with a triple-double.
  • The guy Bazemore is guarding always seems to be frustrated.
  • Antic just missed another three.
  • The Hawks have to go back to these unis full-time, or at least a modern twist. The red, white and blue madness must end to complete the re-branding process.
  • The Cavs really are not using Kevin Love the right way, at all. Love shot the bell incredibly well early, but only got one look late. Bad scheming, I think.
  • J.R. Smith played Korver really well off the ball all night. That match-up could be really interesting in a seven-game series.
  • The Hawks showed they definitely have the coaching edge if these two meet again in the playoffs.

About Chase Thomas

I only have time for coffee. Associate editor at Crossover Chronicles, Bloguin's NBA blog. Proprietor of http://DailyHawks.com. Host of the Cut to the Chase podcast. Contact: chasethomas0418@gmail.com Follow: @CutToTheChaseT