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Hawks look for answers after getting embarrassed by Cavs (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 05 May 2016 14:08:37 PDT)
Thoroughly embarrassed by Cleveland's record-setting performance, the Atlanta Hawks spent part of Thursday watching film from their Game 2 debacle. ''We watched parts of the tape,'' coach Mike Budenholzer said Thursday, still sounding a bit shell-shocked. The Hawks had already gotten a firsthand look at the Cavaliers pouring in a staggering 25 3-pointers - an NBA record for either the regular season or playoffs - in a 123-98 blowout Wednesday night, pushing Cleveland to a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

'Class' dismissed: Cavs owe no apology for hunting 3-point record (Ball Don't Lie)
(Thu, 05 May 2016 13:38:30 PDT)
You're not going to believe this, but it seems like the Atlanta Hawks did not particularly enjoy getting absolutely strafed by the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. Sure, the Hawks' wonderful Twitter account was able to find the gallows humor in being on the receiving end of an NBA-record 25 3-pointers, but apparently, the players on the court and on the receiving end of the bombs-away beatdown didn't find Cleveland's pursuit of net-scorching history quite so amusing. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr:  The best slams from all of basketball] In the locker room after the loss, Hawks All-Star forward Paul Millsap said he was "speechless" over the Cavaliers' unbelievable shooting effort . Apparently, that didn't extend to a conversation with Cavs beat writer Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group : "It's a certain way of being a professional," Paul Millsap said to Cleveland.com. "I'm not mad about it, but just being professionals, man. If that's how you want to approach it, that's how you approach it. I think our team and our organization has class and I don't think we would have continued to do that, but other organizations do other things, so what can you do about it?" Al Horford echoed his frontcourt mate's sentiments. "We probably wouldn't do anything like that [if we were in that position]," he told cleveland.com. "... It's hard to say, but I would say no." Well, I guess it's not that hard to say, then. The Hawks' displeasure seems to stem from Cleveland's insistence on chucking from deep even after tying the second-largest halftime lead in NBA playoff history , tying the previous postseason record for 3s in a playoff game (set less than two weeks ago ) less than seven minutes into the third quarter, and breaking it just 31 seconds after that. The Cavs headed into the fourth up by 36 and no Cleveland starter played in the fourth quarter, but Tyronn Lue's reserves still let 'em fly, hoisting 11 more long balls in the final frame. That, the logic goes, is unprofessional. The same word, though, could be used to describe the Hawks' defensive effort on Wednesday. It would be a harsh assessment, to be sure, but difficult to argue with, as an Atlanta squad that finished the season ranked second in the NBA in points allowed per possession was totally undressed and destroyed from just about the opening tip. Coach Mike Budenholzer succinctly summed up the damage during his postgame press conference, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution : “In transition we are not doing a good enough job,” Budenholzer said. “We need greater urgency and greater understanding in getting to all of their shooters. I think it starts there. Then in the half court, they are in the paint a lot. When you collapse and people help, they are making the extra pass and making shots. Then the third piece, several of them, obviously, J.R. Smith are hitting extremely difficult 3’s on top of those first two things.” Yes, J.R. made some tough looks — as is his wont , of course — but with Atlanta failing to corral dribble penetration and staying at least one step behind the Cavaliers' ball movement, many of Cleveland's triple tries came without a hard closeout or a hand in the shooter's face. The Cavaliers attempted 45 3-pointers, and while the Hawks did contest 32 of them, according to NBA.com's SportVU player tracking data , that A) left 13 open and B) meant the Cavaliers were doing what they were supposed to do and beating the defensive effort on offer. What's wrong with that? With a full quarter left to play, should NBA players be expected not to take wide-open, in-rhythm 3s? More from Haynes : "We ran our offense and got shots in our offense," [Cavs reserve Dahntay Jones] said to cleveland.com. "That's what we did. Mine were wide open. Both of mine were wide open, so I don't know what they wanted me to do. I didn't have to put the ball down or nothing. I was wide open for two of them. "I guess it's a testament to, well, I don't know what it's a testament to. We were wide open. Really, I'm dead serious. I just sat in the corner. I sat there for two shots. We didn't even push the ball in transition. I really don't understand the logic but hey, it's just one game, buddy." It's entirely reasonable that the Hawks wouldn't have enjoyed watching the Cavs both dominate them and dance while doing it: ... but, well, just because you don't like something, that doesn't mean somebody else is classless or unprofessional for doing it. Making 3-pointers in the NBA is hard. Making 25 of them in a game is so hard that literally no other team in NBA history has ever done it. Doing it is awesome, and cool, and the kind of thing that should be celebrated, so the Cavs celebrated it. At the risk of oversimplifying things, it seems reasonable to subscribe to the Cam Newton Dancing line of thinking here: "I'm a firm believer, if you don't like me to do it, then don't let me in." Or, in this case, "then don't let a team just barely removed from making 20 triples in a game get 25 uncontested looks from beyond the arc." (Especially when, as Stephen Douglas of The Big Lead notes , you could argue that the Hawks aren't in a spot to cast stones here.) For his part, Lue dismissed claims that the Cavs had done anything untoward in a Thursday press conference, according to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal : “That’s something the players felt like was in their grasp and they wanted to go for it,” Lue said Thursday about chasing the record in a blowout. “I don’t see anything wrong with it. We didn’t do anything malicious. I don’t think we did anything to rub it in their face. They felt good on the floor and wanted to go for the record.” Clearly, the Hawks (or at least some of them) disagree. Whether or not you think they've got a leg to stand on, it ought to give Atlanta some extra motivation headed into Friday's Game 3. Then again, if you need a trumped-up chip on your shoulder to get properly amped up for a game you need to win to avoid falling down 0-3 and being put on the brink of not just elimination in your own gym, but of a second straight four-game sweep at the hands of the Eastern Conference's resident top dogs, well, you've got bigger problems than J.R. skipping or the Cavs' starters celebrating on the bench. More NBA coverage: - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

Will the real Thunder and Hawks please stand up? (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 05 May 2016 13:34:59 PDT)
The Thunder host the San Antonio Spurs four days after they evened the series with a tense 98-97 win in San Antonio in Game 2. The Hawks head home looking to find themselves after back-to-back losses in Cleveland to the Cavaliers. ''They played great,'' Spurs point guard Tony Parker said.

Cavaliers-Hawks Preview (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 05 May 2016 13:08:16 PDT)
The Cleveland Cavaliers attempted the most 3-pointers in the Eastern Conference in the regular season and have simply upped that number to lead all teams in average attempts in the playoffs. The Cavaliers turned in an astounding long-range effort their last time out and try to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their conference semifinal series Friday night on the road against the Atlanta Hawks. Cleveland averaged 29.6 attempts from beyond the arc during the season and are hoisting up a league-best 35.7 during the playoffs.

LeBron tells Cavaliers to soak up record night
(Wed, 04 May 2016 23:50:07 PDT)
LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers team mates have bigger fish to fry but the superstar implored his men to enjoy their record-breaking night on Wednesday. The Cavaliers knocked down an incredible NBA record 25 three-pointers in their 123-98 Game 2 win over the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. It keeps the side on track to claim the first NBA championship for the franchise.

Big shots: Cavaliers set NBA record by making 25 3-pointers (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 04 May 2016 23:39:28 PDT)
Wearing headphones and sweats, J.R. Smith, the one Cleveland player without any restrictions on where or when he can shoot, finished his pregame warmup by stopping near half-court and launching a shot. On Wednesday night, Smith and the Cavaliers barely missed. Cleveland put on the greatest shooting performance in NBA history, draining 25 3-pointers in a 123-98 win over the Atlanta Hawks, who could only watch in amazement as the Cavs rained down long-range shots from every corner of the floor in Game 2.

NBA-LeBron tells Cavaliers to soak up record night
(Wed, 04 May 2016 23:17:58 PDT)
LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers team mates have bigger fish to fry but the superstar implored his men to enjoy their record-breaking night on Wednesday. The Cavaliers knocked down an incredible NBA record 25 three-pointers in their 123-98 Game 2 win over the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. It keeps the side on track to claim the first NBA championship for the franchise.

Cavs take long-range approach to big win over Hawks
(Wed, 04 May 2016 22:45:59 PDT)
(The Sports Xchange) - LeBron James scored 27 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers made a record 25 three-pointers to pound the Atlanta Hawks 123-98 on Wednesday to take a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. Ten Cavs made three-pointers, led by J.R. Smith with seven. Dahntay Jones' corner three-pointer with 2:24 left gave the Cavs the all-time record, surpassing the 2009 Orlando Magic and the 2014 Houston Rockets, who each made 23 treys in a game.

NBA-Cavs take long-range approach to big win over Hawks
(Wed, 04 May 2016 22:31:54 PDT)
LeBron James scored 27 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers made a record 25 three-pointers to pound the Atlanta Hawks 123-98 on Wednesday to take a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. Ten Cavs made three-pointers, led by J.R. Smith with seven. Dahntay Jones' corner three-pointer with 2:24 left gave the Cavs the all-time record, surpassing the 2009 Orlando Magic and the 2014 Houston Rockets, who each made 23 treys in a game.

Cavs use long-range 3 point onslaught to pound Hawks
(Wed, 04 May 2016 22:31:13 PDT)
The Cleveland Cavaliers fired a record-setting 25 three pointers as they pummelled the Atlanta Hawks 123-98 to seize a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference playoff series on Wednesday. Cleveland produced 18 first half three pointers which propelled them to a 74-38 halftime lead. JR Smith led the barrage from beyond the arc with seven overall as 10 Cleveland players made three pointers in the second round postseason game.

'Stop talking s***': Oakley rips Barkley after Cavs-Hawks Game 2 (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 04 May 2016 22:11:39 PDT)
Well, Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks wasn't exactly competitive , but NBA fans eager for something a bit spicier than 3-point dominance and social media self-deprecation got some bonus beef broiling on Wednesday evening — and this particular cut was aged to perfection. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr:  The best slams from all of basketball] It begins with Charles Barkley's assertion on TNT's "Inside the NBA" broadcast that the Hawks, at some point during their absolute pasting in a record-setting long-distance performance by the Cavs, should have gotten much more physical and nastier: "I've got to vent," Barkley said to host Ernie Johnson. "The Atlanta Hawks got to take somebody out, Ernie." "Touch 'em up or take 'em out?" Johnson asked. "Take 'em out ," Barkley answered. "Come on, man, you can't say that on national TV," Shaquille O'Neal added. "You can't hurt nobody, Chuck." "Ernie, when a team is just embarrassing you, shooting 3s when the game is way over, just trying to set a record, you have to knock the hell out of them, Ernie," Barkley replied. "Not for this game, but to set the tone for the next game. [...] I'm just saying, if you keep shooting 3s, I've got to take you down one time really hard." After attempting to thread a pretty difficult needle by insisting that he never wants to see anyone get hurt but also that the Hawks absolutely needed to waylay a Cavalier to send a message, Barkley emphasized the importance of Atlanta making sure Cleveland understood that "disrespectful" behavior like gunning for the all-time 3-point record simply wouldn't be tolerated. Evidently, Barkley was not the only one interested in message-sending on Wednesday evening. Charles Barkley ,you better stop talking s*** about Cleveland you was never tough you hide behind TNT — Charles Oakley (@CharlesOakley34) May 5, 2016 Well, hello there, Charles Oakley! I didn't notice you there, lurking in the back of every NBA-related person's mind, in amongst the nightmares and things with which you do not mess, even one tiny little bit, even for one second. Nice to see you again! Soon after Oak's tweet calling the Chuckster out began to blaze a white-hot trail through these Internet streets, it made its way to Studio J in Atlanta and onto "Inside," prompting a response from Barkley on the broadcast: "Charles Oakley doesn't like me, which is no big deal," Barkley said. "I don't like him or dislike him; I don't think about him. He's not important enough for me to think about. [...] He don't like me. I have no idea why." I mean, I think we have some idea why, Chuck. This thing of yours goes back some 30 years: ... and continued nearly a decade later: (From the New York Times : "Of Barkley, [Oakley] added: 'He's been doing lots wrong his whole career and it doesn't seem to matter. He has spit on people. They don't care.'") ... and, infamously, allegedly continued in January of 1999 : The unofficial start to the NBA season came sometime Wednesday afternoon when Charles Oakley said he belted his longtime nemesis Charles Barkley in the face during the players union meeting. "I heard what he was saying about me in Atlantic City and I didn't like it," Oakley said last night. "I'm fed up with him. "I told him you need to change your name. I'm the only Charles." [...] Oakley claims Barkley plays the punk when he tries to be friendly off the court. "He did that the other day," Oakley said. "He thought everything was cool, but I'm not his friend. Then everybody grabbed us." Oakley allegedly slapped Barkley across the face and the two were quickly separated by the Knicks' Chris Mills and Indiana's Antonio Davis. Just last month, Barkley said he'd be interested in joining the Knicks. If you're still not sure, Charles, Oak clarified his position back in 2010 : My thing is, when Barkley played basketball, he didn't practice, he wasn't a leader, he wasn't this or that, he just had natural talent so he got chosen to the Dream Team, All Star team because he had the talent and he was the franchise player on the team. Him criticizing all those other guys, he did the same thing when he was young. As soon as they do something wrong, he criticizes them, that's wrong. He wasn't real to the game. Let the guys speak out who are real to the game. He talks like a player and I will give him that, but for him to comment about this and being a professional, he wasn't all that. ... and in 2012 : "Barkley for his size was a good player but he's a coward, though. ... He wasn't a leader and wasn't a role model. Now he talks so bad about younger guys, I don't respect that from him. … He wants to be funny, that whole TNT thing and all that, they're like some clowns on that show." ... and, again, later in 2012 : "I don't go around talking to him. He has opinions. He talks every Tuesday and Thursday about things I did. I just don't like the way he tried to act like he was a good citizen when he played or that he was this and that. He was one of the hardest people to get along with, to play with, everything -- but people don't write about it. People give him a free pass because he's on TV, but I don't believe in that. When he spit on the guy in Cleveland, he got a break. I just don't like when you preach one thing and do something else. That's what the world is coming to. It's just phony. Nobody stands up for what they say anymore." Barkley, for his part, urged a farewell to the beef four years ago : "Dude, we got into an altercation in [1996]. It’s over with. We don’t even play anymore. I have been retired for 12 years. I mean, we’ve never had an issue off the court, but we did have a little altercation back in the mid 1990's, but dude, I have been retired for 12 years. It’s over with. Let it go." Oakley, however, clearly isn't about to let it go ... which, now that you mention it, is why Barkley might want to resume thinking about Charles Oakley this evening: Barkley gonna ask security to walk him to his car just in case. — Myles Brown (@mdotbrown) May 5, 2016 @mdotbrown the location on Oak's tweet was...... ATLANTA — Jim Ice (@Jim_ICE) May 5, 2016 pic.twitter.com/lMJiIPEq8D — Myles Brown (@mdotbrown) May 5, 2016 It wasn't quite the type of excitement we'd bargained for, but with the drama drained out of the evening's modern-day matchup very early on, we were glad for a bit of throwback turmoil. Thanks, Chucks. More NBA coverage: - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

3 for all: Cavaliers make record 25 3-pointers, rout Hawks (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 04 May 2016 21:50:31 PDT)
Dropping jumpers from every corner and angle, the Cleveland Cavaliers drained an NBA record 25 3-pointers - the most in any regular season or playoff game - during a 123-98 runaway win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night in Game 2 of their second-round series. J.R. Smith made seven 3s as the Cavs, looking like an Eastern Conference version of Golden State's Splash Brothers, had the most prolific outside shooting game of any team in league history. From the outset, they were on target and on a tear, and afterward LeBron James struggled to explain it.

The Cavs couldn't stop making 3s in historic blowout of the Hawks (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 04 May 2016 20:47:55 PDT)


Hawks' Twitter account unravels in Cavs' record-setting 3-point barrage (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 04 May 2016 20:29:03 PDT)
Despite losing in record-setting fashion to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Atlanta Hawks had one thing to be amused by on Wednesday: their Twitter account. The more 3s Cleveland sank, the sadder (and funnier) the tweets got. Starting things off, the Hawks' social media manager had a feeling they'd be in for some sort of adventure... TIP OFF pic.twitter.com/awibcJ3iYO — Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) May 5, 2016 But then, Cleveland got annoying. Enough with the corner three's @cavs pic.twitter.com/icZDUYAKvR — Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) May 5, 2016 Very annoying. ????3???? — Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) May 5, 2016 This is fine pic.twitter.com/Iw8Kc7Sdds — Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) May 5, 2016 Here's an optimistc spin that's since been deleted:

LeBron has thought about playoffs matchup with Wade, Heat (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 04 May 2016 11:08:11 PDT)
James has considered the possibility of playing the Miami Heat - his former team and good friend Dwyane Wade - in the next round, a dramatic matchup that already has fans salivating at its potential. If Cleveland can advance past Atlanta, and if Miami takes care of Toronto, it will be the Cavaliers and Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. ''Naturally, of course,'' he said following shootaround Wednesday as the Cavs prepared for Game 2 with the Hawks.

Cavaliers not crying foul over LeBron's lack of free throws (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 03 May 2016 23:53:08 PDT)
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue celebrated his 39th birthday on Tuesday and proudly showed off a few gray hairs - silvery-speckled souvenirs of job-related stress. Well, Lue may soon be grayer than the president if King James doesn't get to the free-throw line more often. LeBron James attempted just one foul shot - completing a 3-point play with 2:09 left - in Cleveland's Game 1 win over the Atlanta Hawks, who overcame an 18-point deficit before fading in the final four minutes and losing by 11.

Hawks-Cavaliers Preview (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 03 May 2016 14:07:53 PDT)
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue celebrated his 39th birthday on Tuesday and proudly showed off a few gray hairs - silvery-speckled souvenirs of job-related stress. Well, Lue may soon be grayer than the president if King James doesn't get to the free-throw line more often. LeBron James attempted just one foul shot - completing a 3-point play with 2:09 left - in Cleveland's Game 1 win over the Atlanta Hawks, who overcame an 18-point deficit before fading in the final four minutes and losing by 11.

Dose: OKC wins Game 2 on road (Rotoworld)
(Mon, 02 May 2016 23:11:00 PDT)
The Hawks battled the Cavaliers in Game 1, but still lost, and the Thunder turned the tables on the Spurs for a Game 2 road win. Fascinating!

NBA's Thunder roll Spurs, LeBron leads Cavs
(Mon, 02 May 2016 23:06:39 PDT)
LeBron James led the way as the Cleveland Cavaliers finally broke the Atlanta Hawks' resistance to seal a 104-93 victory and take a 1-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semi-final playoff series. James scored 25 points and came up with two big steals late in the fourth quarter to help the Cavaliers seize the early initiative in the best-of-seven series at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena. Kyrie Irving added 21 points with eight assists and one rebound as the well-rested Cavaliers dominated against a weary Atlanta.

LeBron, Cavs hold off Hawks 104-93 in Game 1 (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 02 May 2016 22:59:54 PDT)
Rusty, rested or reeling, LeBron James and the Cavaliers find a way to beat the Hawks in the playoffs every time. James scored 25 points, Kyrie Irving added 21 and Cleveland withstood a strong second-half surge by Atlanta to maintain its chokehold on the Hawks with a 104-93 victory Monday night in the opening game of their second-round Eastern Conference series. James converted a critical three-point play with 2:09 left for the Cavs, who blew an 18-point lead in the second half and fell behind with 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter before making several clutch plays down the stretch.

Hawks push Cavaliers late, but LeBron pushes back to take Game 1 (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 02 May 2016 20:46:40 PDT)
LeBron James capped his postgame interview with TNT's Lewis Johnson with seven simple words: "All right, I'm going to lay down." He'd earned the rest, but that he'd needed to expend so much energy late despite his team holding an 18-point third-quarter lead suggests that these Atlanta Hawks aren't interested in a second straight meek postseason exit at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr:  The best slams from all of basketball] The four-time NBA Most Valuable Player checked just about every box on Monday, finishing with 25 points on 11-for-21 shooting, nine assists, seven rebounds and five steals in 40 1/2 minutes to lead the Cavs to a 104-93 win that gives Cleveland a 1-0 lead over visiting Atlanta in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series. Kyrie Irving added 21 points on 8-for-18 shooting, eight assists, two blocks and a steal against just two turnovers in the win. Power forward Kevin Love, who watched last year's Eastern Conference finals matchup between these two teams in a suit after suffering a shoulder injury earlier in the postseason, spaced the floor, banged bodies and fought on the boards, working through a dismal 4-for-17 shooting night to finish with 17 points and 11 rebounds. While the Cavs' other two stars each made an impact — as did glass-eating center Tristan Thompson, designated gunner J.R. Smith, and veteran reserves Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye — it was James who led the way. With his pinpoint fastball passing to keep the ball flying around the perimeter ahead of the Hawks' defensive rotations, and his persistent attacking of the smaller Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha, James helped the Cavs take control early and maintain it for the bulk of the first three quarters. But after Atlanta roared back with a 16-4 run to close the third, took the lead with eight minutes to go in regulation, and stood tied with the East's top seed midway through the fourth, James took the reins. He set up Smith, curling clean off a Love off-ball screen, for a huge go-ahead 3 with four minutes left. With the help of an Irving screen, he got a step on Paul Millsap and drove baseline, drawing the attention of three Hawks to open up a pass to the corner for Love, who'd pump-fake Bazemore into the air, draw a foul and get himself to the line for three big free throws, making two. He came up with a pair of critical steals to short-circuit the Hawks offense; finished a tough and-one layup to put Cleveland up seven; spun around Al Horford for another layup to increase the lead to nine; and cleaned the defensive glass after a Hawks quick-two attempt with just under a minute left that forced Atlanta to foul, putting Kyrie Irving on the line and essentially icing the game. After having been largely quiet since the midpoint of the third as the Hawks made a game of it, James provided whatever Cleveland needed in the final 6 1/2 minutes, pushing the Cavs past the finish line to their fifth straight win of this postseason and their eighth straight win over Atlanta, dating back to last year's conference finals sweep. "I had a couple of turnovers that led to some of their runs, and I just had to make some plays for my team," James said after the game. "They look at me to lead this team every single night, and I was able to get a couple of looks." The Cavs needed those looks, because Atlanta fought back from an awful offensive start to push Cleveland late. As was the case for much of their first-round win over the Boston Celtics, the Hawks struggled to both generate good looks and cash in on the ones they got, shooting just 8-for-24 in the first quarter and 14-for-47 in the first half, with All-Stars Millsap and Horford combining to go just 2-for-16 before intermission. Some of Atlanta's issues stemmed from solid Cavalier defense. Thompson, the 2015 Hawks' postseason bete noire , once again caused problems with his interior activity, and committed ball-denial effort by the likes of Smith and Iman Shumpert helped limit Kyle Korver to just one field-goal attempt ... and even that was a rushed attempt off a pump fake with less than two minutes left in the second quarter, and he missed it. Some of the woes, however, could be chalked up to the Hawks once again missing makeable looks. Atlanta shot just 18-for-48 on field-goal tries on which no defender was within 3 1/2 feet of the shooter, according to NBA.com's SportVU player tracking data . And yet, the Hawks went into half down just 10, thanks in part to a hot shooting start from Bazemore and a stellar second quarter from reserve point guard Dennis Schröder, who made a lot of enemies in Massachusetts with his Round 1 work against the Celtics, and who seemed very eager to open Round 2 by proving nobody in a Cavalier jersey could stay in front of him off the bounce: Schröder scored 10 points in the second quarter to keep Atlanta afloat, and he took over the game in the final five minutes of the third. He stepped into 3-point shots with confidence, intent on making Cleveland pay for its tried-and-true strategy of ducking under high ball screens against the Hawks, sagging off to prevent the drive and baiting Atlanta's playmakers into pulling the trigger from beyond the arc. After he made a couple, the defense tightened up, and the German jitterbug didn't need an engraved invitation to start carving a path to the rim, especially when matched up with Irving and given the opportunity to attack the slow-footed Love in the pick-and-roll. With Schröder at the wheel, the Hawks cut an 18-point deficit down to just four entering the fourth quarter. After Cleveland opened the fourth with five straight points, Schröder — plus some exceptionally committed defense from Horford and Millsap, who continued to swarm, cover ground and protect the rim despite having a hard time putting the ball in the hole — kept attacking and pushing, lofting a beautiful lob for a Horford dunk that gave Atlanta its first lead of the game, 80-79, with eight minutes to go. Irving responded with three straight baskets — a triple, a driving layup and a pullup jumper — to showcase his all-around scoring gifts, but Schröder didn't blink, knifing through the Cavs' defense for a pair of layups of his own to knot the score at 86 with 6:29 remaining. From there, though, the Hawks' attack bogged down, coming up empty on eight of their next nine trips thanks partly to tighter Cavalier defense and partly to ill-timed errors, including four critical turnovers in the final 6 1/2 minutes leading to five Cleveland points. That, combined with James' orchestration on the other end, was enough to give the Cavs the kick they needed to get back to their winning ways following an eight-day layoff after sweeping the Detroit Pistons in the first round. "Obviously, you can tell that [Atlanta] went through a longer series than us — eight [days] is a long time, but we tried to do whatever we could to stay in rhythm, to stay in shape, but we just pushed through it," James said after the game. "A win is a win in the postseason. We're going to get better, obviously, as the series go on, but it's a great start to the series." If you're a glass-half-full sort, you could say the same thing for the Hawks, who put themselves in the position to be in hailing distance down the stretch despite getting just three points in 37 minutes from Korver and watching key offensive contributors Millsap, Horford and Teague combine for just 35 points on 12-for-41 shooting. Atlanta battled on the glass, showed improved defensive effort as the game went on, and put real pressure on the Cavaliers in the second half, especially with Schröder working against Irving and Love in the screen game on his way to a career playoff high 27 points on 10-for-20 shooting, including a 5-for-10 mark from 3-point land, to go with six assists and three rebounds in 28 1/2 minutes. Some of Budenholzer's lineup gambits, such as switching assignments to put Bazemore on Love to put more size on James late, could pay greater dividends moving forward, especially if Love's not as physically able to punish a smaller defender as he might usually be. Love took his lumps late, grimacing in pain and grabbing his right shoulder after a shooting foul by Bazemore, before later coming up limping after landing awkwardly following an attempt for a contested rebound: A glass-half-empty Georgian might wonder how likely it is that Schröder will replicate that shooting performance. Or express skepticism that Bazemore's going to keep putting up 16 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals while spending most of his time guarding James. Or wonder when exactly we're going to see Horford start consistently bossing dudes around on the offensive end. Or note that Atlanta's season-long inability to clear the defensive glass once again came back to bite them in the closing minutes, with both Thompson and Smith grabbing offensive rebounds to extend a Cleveland possession with the Hawks down four, leading to the LeBron and-one that served as the ostensible game-winner. "Defensively, we had some possessions where we gave ourselves a chance [but] we just couldn’t come up with a couple of rebounds late when it was tied," Budenholzer said after the game, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . "We get a couple more of those rebounds and execute on the other end. For a Game 1, we’ll learn a lot and we’ll be better going forward on both ends.” They'll need to be, because if the last decade or so of Eastern Conference basketball has taught us anything, it's that close just isn't close enough when the other guys have LeBron James. More NBA coverage: - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

Cavaliers beat Hawks in series opener
(Mon, 02 May 2016 20:09:03 PDT)
(The Sports Xchange) - A week off did not disrupt the Cleveland Cavaliers' momentum, nor was it enough time to alter the Atlanta Hawks' history against them. The Cavaliers still have never lost to the Hawks in the postseason, but this one was not easy. LeBron James scored 25 points and came up with two big steals late in the Cavs' 104-93 victory on Monday against the Hawks to take a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

NBA-Cavaliers beat Hawks in series opener
(Mon, 02 May 2016 20:06:20 PDT)
A week off did not disrupt the Cleveland Cavaliers' momentum, nor was it enough time to alter the Atlanta Hawks' history against them. The Cavaliers still have never lost to the Hawks in the postseason, but this one was not easy. LeBron James scored 25 points and came up with two big steals late in the Cavs' 104-93 victory on Monday against the Hawks to take a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

George's return has Pacers dreaming of brighter future (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 02 May 2016 14:50:19 PDT)
The Indiana Pacers turned what was supposed to be a transitional season into one filled with promise. Paul George regained his All-Star form. Myles Turner emerged as a potential future star, and the Pacers showed they could win while playing distinctly different styles.

BDL's 2015-16 NBA Playoff Previews: The Conference semifinals (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 02 May 2016 13:04:21 PDT)
The NBA’s Worst First-Round in Recorded History is thankfully, finally, over. The Conference semifinals started up over the weekend, and the minds behind Ball Don’t Lie have put together a tidy package of previews for you to peruse: EASTERN CONFERENCE 1. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 4. Atlanta Hawks, by Eric Freeman . 2. Toronto Raptors vs. 3. Miami Heat, by Kelly Dwyer . WESTERN CONFERENCE 1. Golden State Warriors vs. 5. Portland Trail Blazers, by Eric Freeman . 2. San Antonio Spurs vs. 3. Oklahoma City Thunder, by Dan Devine .

LeBron has more help as Cavs meet Hawks again in playoffs (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 02 May 2016 11:48:16 PDT)
LeBron James plucked the Atlanta Hawks clean and stuffed them for mounting by himself in last year's playoffs. With Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving healthy and well-rested following a first-round sweep of Detroit, James and the Cleveland Cavaliers enter their series against the Hawks as overwhelming favorites to return to the Eastern Conference finals. The Cavs swept the Hawks a year ago on their way to the NBA Finals and have won seven straight over Atlanta.

Capsule preview of the Cavaliers-Hawks second-round series (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 01 May 2016 08:40:01 PDT)
Cleveland had a pair of double-digit wins at home and pulled out a two-point overtime victory at Atlanta, sweeping the regular-season series for the first time since 2004-05. LeBron James averaged 27.3 points and shot 58 percent, adding 11 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game. The Hawks shot better than 40 percent just once and finished at just 40.7 percent in the three games.

BDL's 2015-16 NBA Playoff Previews: Cavaliers vs. Hawks (Ball Don't Lie)
(Sun, 01 May 2016 01:54:37 PDT)


Sources: Jacque Vaughn joining Nets staff as top assistant (Yahoo Sports)
(Sat, 30 Apr 2016 17:40:47 PDT)
Vaughn will join the Nets staff as the top assistant to new head coach Kenny Atkinson, sources told The Vertical.

Hawks get another playoff shot at King James and Cavaliers (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 30 Apr 2016 15:30:31 PDT)
The Atlanta Hawks were a work in progress much of the season, a team that went from relying on a dazzling, spread-the-ball offense to a grittier, defensive-minded bunch. Feeling confident after an opening-round win over Boston but a big underdog against the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series. Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.

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