Cleveland conceded five three pointers in the first quarter, including a 50-foot buzzer beater from Paul Milsap at the end of the quarter. Kyle Korver made two threes, setting an NBA record for consecutive games with a made three-point attempt at 90.
The Cavaliers were down 37-20 at the end of the first, trailed by as many as 24 in the second quarter and 29 in the third.
The Hawks had seven players score in double figures and managed 31 assists on 47 made field goals as they worked the ball around the Cavs' defense.
Atlanta was led by 22 points, nine rebounds, and four assists from Al Horford. Milsap scored 16 points and had a game-high 14 rebounds, while Lou Williams came off the bench for 13 points.
Dion Waiters had a big game for Cleveland, scoring a season-high 30 points on an efficient 13-for-20 shooting night off the bench. Andrew Bynum scored 20 points and had a season-high 13 rebounds including nine offensive boards. Jarrett Jack also came off the bench for 12 points and three assists.
The Cavaliers had two players held scoreless, including Kyrie Irving who was 0-for-9 from the field and just four assists. This is the lowest of a season that has had quite a few lows for the third-year player who has dazzled Cleveland and NBA fans alike over the last two seasons.
Alonzo Gee was also scoreless, but he is not relied upon like Irving to put points on the board.
The last time this game was close was also the first time. The Hawks held a slim 8-6 lead with 8:08 left in the first quarter before going on a 16-5 run that included three of their first quarter three pointers. From that point forward, Atlanta led by double digits for all but 16 seconds of the game.
A big part of this game was the three-point shooting. Though the Cavs aren't a team that relies on the deep ball, they shot just 25% from long range, while allowing their opponent to shoot just under 35%. They also struggled with their free throws, making just eight of 17, including 0-for-3 by Irving.
If you can't knock down three point shots and aren't shooting over 50% from the field, you have to make free throws to stay in the game. The Cavaliers could not do any of those and it resulted in another lopsided road loss.
It does not get easier for Cleveland who welcome the 13-7 Los Angeles Clippers to Quicken Loans Arena Satruday night. The Clippers have not been as good as expected, but a game against the struggling Cavs could be the medicine the doctor ordered.
On the other hand, the Cavs have been much better at home and a win over Los Angeles could help get them past this disappointing performance.
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