RECAP: Hawks 102, Cavs 94

Daniel Christian —  December 28, 2012

FINAL

CLE (7-24) 94 – 102 (18-9) ATL

Key Performers:

J. Teague (ATL): 27 pts, 2 reb, 8 asts, 2 stls
K. Irving (CLE): 28 pts, 6 reb, 5 asts, 4 stls
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Kyrie Irving is ridiculous. It’s common knowledge at this point, but it’s worth noting even if it’s redundant. He’s so crafty with the ball, has an incredible stroke, and just goes through stretches where he is absolutely unguardable. It looked like he was ready to put the Hawks away in this one, but Jeff Teague had a career high and was just as unguardable as Kyrie tonight. It was through his offensive onslaught that the Hawks were able to pull away in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: Smith couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn from the field, but he managed to contribute in other areas. He blocked 5 shots, had 6 assists, and pulled down 6 rebounds. He scored 7 points on 2-12 shooting, but didn’t play the entire 4th quarter despite his important defensive presence. Drew mentioned that Smith was injured, but I get the feeling that LD wasn’t itching to plug him back in the game given his offensive struggles tonight. 5/10

Al Horford: He may have had a double-double, but he seemed timid on offense and rushed things in the post. Still, even though it looked like he struggled, he had 14 points on 6-11 shooting and also grabbed 11 rebounds. The fact that it seemed like an off night and he still played that well is a testament to how good Al is. 6.5/10

Kyle Korver: Whenever the Hawks really needed a bucket tonight, Korver was there. In Atlanta’s third quarter comeback, Korver hit the crucial three-pointer to cut the lead to 2, and then he brought the Hawks’ lead back up to 6 in the final 2 minutes with his third three-pointer of the night. When Korver hits his threes, he’s doing just what he needs to do to make the Hawks’ offense successful. 6/10

Jeff Teague: When it looked like Kyrie was taking things over, Jeff flipped the switch and brought the Hawks offense to another level. He kept things moving with his penetration, and he was feeling it from beyond the arc tonight as well. He found open teammates, played relatively strong defense, and just broke down Cleveland’s defense time and time again. It may not have been the best game of Teague’s career, but it’s certainly on the short list. He did set a new career high with 27 points.  10/10

Lou Williams: Lou scored 16 points and hit some big three-pointers in this one. He was a little turnover-happy in the 4th quarter, but overall, he played a strong offensive game and shot the ball efficiently. 6/10

Zaza Pachulia: Zaza played a strong game and made some big free throws down the stretch, but his overall activity around the rim was a key throughout the night for the Hawks. 6/10

Anthony Tolliver: Anthony Tolliver Renaissance! Tolliver scored 11 points and was a huge spark in the Hawks’ second quarter run. He almost made an incredible putback dunk too! It was nice to see him actually do something good and contribute. 6/10

John Jenkins: Jenkins played 8 minutes, and most of them were BIG minutes in the fourth quarter. Jenkins connected on a huge three-pointer and also put the ball on the floor and finished in the paint. It’s nice to see him get some minutes, but even better to see him do something with those minutes. 5/10

Anthony Morrow: Morrow was injured in the first half. He played only 7 minutes, and in those 7 minutes, he missed his only field goal attempt. 3/10

Mike Scott: 9 Minutes. Some missed jumpers. Just a bunch of bad stuff all around. 2/10

Larry Drew: Whether it was really an injury that prevented Smith from playing in the fourth quarter or not, it was smart of Drew to send a message to the team and keep him on the bench. Terrible shot selection should not be rewarded. He continues to draw up nice plays out of timeouts, and it was nice to see him give the reigns completely over to Teague tonight. 8/10

The opposition: The Hawks were lucky that Varejao wasn’t playing tonight, because if he was, the Hawks probably wouldn’t have won tonight. Regardless, Kyrie is incredible. Waiters is a solid piece and is exciting. They don’t really have much else, and the Hawks took advantage of that. 5/10

 

Next: Atlanta vs. Indiana, Saturday, December 29th

Daniel Christian

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