Bolstered by their perfect postseason record and with their stars in top form, the Cleveland Cavaliers aim for a 2-0 series lead over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal matchup Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
LeBron James’ game-high 25 points and a total of 15 three-pointers helped Cleveland pull off a 104-93 Game 1 victory two days ago, despite a major second-half surge from Atlanta and double-doubles from forwards Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore.
Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving netted 21 points and Kevin Love totaled 17 points and 11 rebounds, each pulling off the feats for the fifth straight game. Tyronn Lue's squad have yet to lose a game in the postseason.
Love, who missed the majority of Cleveland’s Finals run last year due to a dislocated left shoulder, received a scare with his right shoulder when Bazemore fouled him on a three-point shot. Love stayed in the game, and knocked down two of his three free-throw attempts.
The Hawks did draw some positives from Game 1 despite the loss. Point guard Dennis Schroder fired off 27 points, a playoff career-high, and the Hawks nearly overcame an 18-point Cleveland lead before James stymied their attempt with a little over two minutes remaining. Atlanta led 88-87 with 4:28 before James went to work.
Schroder’s big effort helped make up for point guard Jeff Teague’s mere eight points, while Millsap and Bazemore nearly wiped the glass clean with a combined 25 rebounds. Atlanta won the rebounding battle, 48-44, and collected 15 offensive rebounds compared to Cleveland’s 10.
Forward Tristan Thompson’s work in the paint provided some help for Cleveland. Seven of his 14 boards were on the offensive glass and he blocked a pair of shots.
Tip-off: 8:05 p.m. ET
TV Channel: TNT
Betting Odds: Cleveland 7.5 points
Over/Under: 196.5 points
Prediction: Cleveland over Atlanta, 103-98