May 07, 2016

Irving, James on target as Cavaliers take 3-0 series lead

(Sports Xchange) - The 3-pointers keep falling and the Cleveland Cavaliers are sitting pretty.The red-hot Cavs hit 21 more 3-pointers and Kyrie Irving and LeBron James took over in the fourth quarter, lifting Cleveland past the Atlanta Hawks 121-108 on Friday night at Philips Arena.The Cavs lead the Eastern Conference playoff series 3-0. No NBA team has ever overcome a 0-3 deficit in a best-of-seven series.Game 4 is Sunday in Atlanta.Irving finished with 24 points, James had 24 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists and Channing Frye came off the bench to hit seven 3-pointers.The Cavaliers made an NBA-record 25 3-pointers in their Game 2 rout of the Hawks. They flirted with that number again, shooting 53.8 percent from beyond the arc.Atlanta's Al Horford finished with 24 points and Kyle Korver came off the bench to add 18 points, including five 3-pointers for the Hawks, who led 91-85 heading into the fourth quarter. Irving and Frye each connected on two 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter and James made his only 3-pointer of the game with six minutes to play, giving Cleveland its first lead since the second quarter.The Cavaliers pulled away from there and now find themselves in complete control.In the other Eastern Conference semifinal, Toronto and Miami are tied 1-1 and appear to be headed for a tight series. Western Conference favorites San Antonio and Golden State also are facing adversity, with Warriors star Stephen Curry trying to come back from a knee injury and the Spurs in a battle with Oklahoma City.Game 3 had it all with highlight dunks, relentless effort, physicality and, of course, more 3-pointers.Cleveland's Iman Shumpert threw down a one-handed dunk off a rebound in the first quarter. Later in the half, Horford topped Shumpert's jam with a one-hander over the top of Kevin Love. Love responded with a big game, finishing with 21 points and 14 rebounds.Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer tried an array of adjustments, starting defensive-minded Thabo Sefolosha in place of Korver and mixing in reserve forward Kris Humphries in the rotation early in the game.Budenholzer also had the Hawks intentionally foul Cleveland's Tristan Thompson, a 61 percent foul shooter, frequently. The tricks helped Atlanta take control in the first half.Atlanta closed the second quarter on a 20-5 run and led 63-55 at halftime. Korver, who came off the bench for the first time since the 2012-2013 season, hit four 3-pointers in the second quarter and the Hawks went 8 of 9 from behind the 3-point arc in the second quarter.Cleveland outrebounded Atlanta 55-28.

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