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(Monday, April 1st)
Final Score: Atlanta 102, Cleveland 94
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Devin Harris scored a season-high 25 points and dished out seven assists and Josh Smith nearly had a triple-double with 18 points, 14 rebounds and eight helpers as the Atlanta Hawks downed the slumping Cleveland Cavaliers, 102-94, on Monday at Philips Arena.
Jeff Teague supplied 19 points and nine assists and Al Horford, who had missed two straight games with an illness, scored 16 points and grabbed six boards for the Hawks, who have won consecutive games and three of their last four overall.
Marreese Speights paced Cleveland with 23 points and pulled down eight rebounds for the Cavaliers, who have dropped nine straight along with six consecutive road tilts. The team was without Kyrie Irving, although the All- Star scored 31 points versus New Orleans on Sunday after missing eight games due to a left shoulder strain.
"My message was very simple to the guys this morning," Atlanta coach Larry Drew said. "Playing this Cleveland ball club not knowing who they had playing, the message was simple, we really had to focus on us tonight and do the things we've been doing pretty much all year."
Shaun Livingston and Tyler Zeller netted 14 and 12 points, respectively in the setback.
Trailing by eight at halftime, Cleveland chipped away in the third quarter and got within 58-56 after a 12-6 swing capped off by an Alonzo Gee 3-pointer. Less than one minute later, two Zeller free throws cut the deficit to 60-58, though the quarter quickly changed.
Harris hit a triple to ignite a 16-4 spurt over the next four-plus minutes which saw Atlanta take a 76-62 lead with 2:51 to play in the stanza. The Hawks headed into the fourth up 79-68.
Speights, who had 15 points in the final quarter, hit a jumper with 8:10 remaining to cut the margin to 83-77, but the hosts were able to keep the edge to eight points or more as the contest came to a close. Wayne Ellington's layup with 43 seconds to play again cut the deficit to six points, but it was too little, too late the Hawks held on for the victory.
"One of the keys to this game was to get back in transition," Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. "We gave up 23 points in transition which was way too many. We outrebounded the Hawks but, they got some key rebounds. Our transition defense was not good tonight. It's always tough when you play shorthanded."
Atlanta held a 25-19 edge after one quarter before leading by as many as 11 early in the second. The Cavs soon cut the deficit to single-digits as the first half came to a close and trailed 52-44 at the break.
Cleveland's C.J. Miles missed the game due to a sore right ankle... Atlanta improved to 24-13 at home this season, while Cleveland is just 9-28 on the road ... Daniel Gibson was ejected midway through the second quarter after receiving his second technical foul ... Cleveland has lost seven of 11 in Atlanta ... The Hawks are 9-2 in the past 11 encounters between the teams ... Atlanta shot 9-of-30 from behind the arc, while Cleveland made just 3-of-12 shots from 3-point range.
04/01 23:01:20 ET
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