NBA Game Summary - Atlanta at Cleveland
(Saturday, March 21st)
Final Score: Cleveland 102, Atlanta 96
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - LeBron James had 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists, as Cleveland downed Atlanta, 102-96, in a matchup of squads boasting seven-game win streaks to start the day.
Mo Williams logged game-highs of 24 points and seven assists for the Cavaliers, who have the NBA's best record and pushed their win streak to eight in a row.
"We wanted to, first of all, protect home court like we've been able to do. We know what our staple is, and our main goal is and that's on the defensive end," said James of the Cavs, who forced 15 turnovers. "We have to continue that and it will help us get a long way in the playoffs."
Zydrunas Ilgauskas chipped in with 16 points and surpassed 10,000 points for his career with a pair of free throws in the second quarter as the Cavs won for the 12th time in 13 tries overall and moved to a gaudy 32-1 at Quicken Loans Arena this season.
Joe Johnson netted 24 points and Flip Murray 22 for the Hawks, who were coming off a perfect seven-game homestand. Maurice Evans scored 15 points and Mike Bibby 14 in the loss.
"I think we came out with a lack of energy," said Bibby. "They...jumped on us early. We weren't hitting our shots and they ran the ball down our throat. We got down early and that's what killed us."
The Cavs jumped out to a 27-13 lead after 12 minutes and led 53-35 at the break behind a 13-3 run that opened the second frame.
Three-pointers by Evans and Bibby early in the third had the Hawks back within 56-43 but James got to the rim for two a short time later and drained a three of his own at the seven-minute mark for a still hearty 19-point advantage, 66-47.
The teams traded threes the rest of the way as Evans hit a pair from long distance and Johnson added another for Atlanta but Williams and Sasha Pavlovic countered in kind for Cleveland and the Cavs took a 79-63 advantage to the fourth.
Cleveland kept pace with a strong shooting effort from Atlanta to start the fourth and a James jumper just past the halfway point dropped for a 17-point lead, 97-80.
Bibby answered with a jumper and Josh Smith hit two at the line but a Delonte West three-ball close to the three-minute mark effectively clinched the win, providing a 100-84 margin, as the Hawks got only as close as the final score on a pair of late threes from Murray.
The Hawks, who currently occupy the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff standings, are 27-7 in Atlanta but just 14-22 as the visitor on the year...Hawks head coach Mike Woodson was ejected in the second quarter after picking up two technicals...The Cavs have taken three of four meetings with the Hawks so far this season, including a 100-96 triumph at the "Q" on November 22...Cleveland committed only two turnovers on the way to a 97-92 overtime win over Portland its last time out on Thursday, but finished with 13 in this win...The Hawks hit 9-of-21 from three-point range while Cleveland drained 6-of-15 from beyond the arc...The Hawks last won seven in a row from April 14-28 of 1999.
03/21 17:21:42 ET