The Sports Inquirer attended the post-game presser of Cleveland Cavs’ players Kevin Love(left), LeBron James (middle) and Kyrie Irving (right) following their team’s 100-99 road playoff win over the Atlanta Hawks in game four of their series on May 9. Cleveland won the series four games to none.
Love had game-high 27 points and game-high 13 rebounds for a double-double. James and Irving each had 21 points. James grabbed 10 rebounds as well for a double-double.
Topics included thoughts on the win and the Cavs’ perfect record in the postseason through eight games.
The Atlanta Hawks extended their winning streak to six games with a 106-97 home victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night at Philips Arena.
Al Horford scored a team-high 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the win for Atlanta while Jeff Teague scored 16. Other double-figure scorers for the Hawks included Paul MIllsap (16 points), Dennis Schroder (15 points), Mike Scott (14 points) and DeMarre Carroll (11 points). Overall, the Hawks shot 51.2 percent from the field and outrebounded the Cavaliers 38-37. Atlanta also dished out 27 assists in the victory.
“The way our group started tonight, the focus and the activity defensively, and then the way we were able to finish the fourth quarter with the same defensive effort and the defensive focus and defensive activity – that’s what we’re looking for,” Hawks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer said.
“(It was a) playoff vibe,” Teague said. “Two good teams going at it, nobody wants to lose.”
Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 20 points in the loss for Cleveland. LeBron James scored 18 points, dished out a game-high eight assists and grabbed six rebounds.
“It always starts with individual pride, but I think it takes five guys,” Budenholzer said about defending James. “We just played Hawks defense,” Carroll added. “I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates because they were helping me out a lot.”
Kevin Love scored 14 points and had a team-high eight rebounds for Cleveland.
Atlanta jumped out to a 20-10 lead midway through the first quarter. The Hawks continued the strong play and took a 36-19 lead into the second quarter. Atlanta shot 71 percent from the field and the 36 points were the most in a first quarter this season.
Cleveland started the second quarter on a 11-5 run to cut the deficit to 42-30 with 8:46 left in the first half. Atlanta held steady for the rest of the first half and took a 53-43 lead into the locker room.
Horford scored a game-high 13 points in the first half and grabbed six rebounds. Millsap was also in double-figures for the Hawks with 10 points. Overall, Atlanta shot 54.6 percent from the field in the first half and outrebounded Cleveland 20-14.
Cleveland shot 45.5 percent in the first half led by Love’s 10 points. James struggled from the field, making only one out of seven shot attempts and scoring five first-half points.
The Cavs mounted their comeback attempt and two free throws by Mozgov midway in the third quarter gave the road team a 66-65 lead. Atlanta was able to retake the lead on a layup by Schroder late in the third quarter, making the score 81-79 heading into the fourth quarter. Cleveland outscored Atlanta 36-28 in the third quarter. The 36 points were the most the Hawks have given up in a third quarter this season.
Atlanta started the fourth quarter on a 10-2 run paced by two three-pointers by Kyle Korver, pushing its lead to 91-81 with 8:46 left in the game. Korver finished the game with eight points. The Hawks outscored the Cavs 25-18 to secure the victory.