Cleveland Cavaliers 4-0 Atlanta Hawks | Eastern Conference Finals
The Cavs entered Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals with their brooms ready, aiming to complete a sweep of Atlanta at home and accomplish their goal of making it to the NBA Finals. The Cavs came out with a sense of tenacity. They jumped out to a 9-4 lead and got the crowd going with a three from Kyrie, who was playing in his first game back since Game 1 because of a knee injury, and a soaring flush by LeBron in which he nearly jumped from the free throw line. This combination of momentum building plays forced the Hawks to call a timeout with only 2:31 having gone by. The stop in play didn’t affect the Cavs, though. Cleveland continued to increase its lead in large part because of the play of Kyrie. He scored nine points in the first quarter, which is the most for him this postseason. He also gave fans a scare, along with a confidence boost, when he showed he could take a hit after being knocked to the floor when he was fouled on a layup attempt. LeBron was encouraged by this, also, and showed his support of Irving’s efforts when he walked out onto the court clapping when Irving popped back up. The first quarter concluded with the Cavs owning a comfortable 12-point lead. It was an environment of elation from the hometown fans seeing the Cavs jump out to a big advantage so early in the game. They continued to roll in the 2nd with a couple strong drives by LeBron and a Kyrie to Timofey Mozgov alley-oop. The lead was increased to 17 at intermission. The 3rd quarter was the Tristan Thompson show as TT was making plays all over the court with his seemingly endless energy supply. He had a put-back slam, a vivacious finish on an alley-oop, and a swat of a Paul Millsap layup that had Cavs’ TV announcer Austin Carr’s signature “Get that weak stuff outta here!” call ringing in everyone’s heads. Cleveland once again increased their lead to 25 at the end of the third quarter. With the Cavs comfortably in the driver’s seat, it was time to put the reserves in, a goal the main group set at halftime. LeBron spoke about this in post-game interviews when he said, “I told our guys at halftime – I said, our motivation for the second half is to get Joe Harris into the game, and they answered the call.” Harris entered the game in the middle of the final period and he took advantage of the opportunity, scoring seven points in six minutes.
Lebron James Comes in Hot for Thunderous Dunk
Cleveland prevailed against the Hawks and won by an even 30 points with a score of 118-88. The team is now 8-0 against them in postseason play. Kyrie had an impressive return with 16 points on 6-11 shooting and 2 threes with 5 dimes and 4 boards in 22 minutes. J.R. Smith scored 18 and had his second straight game with 10 rebounds. Tristan had 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. T-Mo contributed a game-high 3 blocks. It was his sixth playoff game with at least that many. LeBron was the team’s high scorer with his jersey number matching output of 23 points and rounded his box score out with 9 rebounds and 7 assists even with his reduced 29 minutes played. The team had total command of the long range game in all aspects. They were very efficient from three as they went 13-31 and they held the top three point shooting team in the East to 16% in Game 4 and 23% in the series. The Cavs also continued their dominance on the glass by outrebounding Atlanta 56-39 in the game and 208-157 in the series.
James Gets the Block then Drives, Spins and Scores!
Via the series sweep Cleveland was crowned Eastern Conference Champions and earned a bid to the NBA Finals for the second time in franchise history. There, they will go up against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors and attempt to win the franchise’s first championship. Game 1 of the Finals will be played on Thursday June 4th at 9 Eastern Time on ABC.