It was a tale of two games. The first three quarters, when the Cavaliers were going through the motions. And the fourth quarter, where they got serious, and buried an overmatched Hawks team in runaway fashion.
The game was a payback of sorts for the Cavs, who lost at home to the anemic Hawks earlier in the year. It was also the second of back-to-back games for the team, who routed the Pacers at home the previous night before boarding a plane to come to Atlanta.
The Cavs looked lethargic early, falling behind 30-18, before rallying to take a one point halftime lead. The start of the second half was just as ominous as the start of the game, as the Hawks got out to a quick start, and pulled back ahead 73-63 at one point.
Then LeBron James and Donyell Marshall took over.
James, seemingly sensing what was about to happen, started to take over the game late in the 3rd and early in the 4th quarter. James finished with 38 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. Joining the party with him was Donyell Marshall, who dropped 16 fourth quarter points on the Hawks, which included four big three pointers. Marshall ended the game with 19 points on 4-6 shooting from long range, and a 7-8 effort from the foul line.
The contest was halted a couple times late in the game due to a fan pointing a laser pointer in the eyes of Cavaliers players while at the foul line. The fan was never caught, but his frustration was understandable. The Cavs made a season high 38 foul shots, shooting 38-51 (75%) from the foul line. LeBron James alone made 15-20, almost equaling Atlanta’s team effort of 16-22 from the charity stripe. Marshall and Zydrunas Ilgauskas combined to make 15 of 16 from the line as well.
Zydrunas ended with 18 points and 5 rebounds despite only playing 21 minutes due to falling into foul trouble early once again. Drew Gooden had another very active game, scoring 11 points and snagging 14 rebounds. Coach Mike Brown stayed with his new lineup, starting Sasha Pavlovic once again at shooting guard. Pavlovic had a game to forget, failing to score or assist in 31 minutes.
The win moves the Cavs to 23-17 on the season, and 5-7 in the absence of Larry Hughes. The Cavs stay on the road, traveling to Indianapolis for another game with the Pacers, who they just beat Tuesday, and lead by 2 ½ games for second place in the Central Division.