LeBron James and Kyrie Irving have always risen to the occasion this season and it is their performances, which have helped them win a number of matches. The script was no different when Cleveland Cavaliers took on Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on Wednesday night as James helped his team emerge victorious with 31 points.
Despite Irving having a below par game, the Cavs won the game 97-89. Barring the first quarter, Cavs looked good. he Hawks even enjoyed a nine point lead during the first quarter.
Though Irving might not have been at his best, it was JR Smith, who came off from the bench and took up the mantle with an incredible performance drilling an amazing 8 three pointers from 12 attempts.
The shooting guard was in ominous form and the Hawks did not have any answer to his long range shooting.
It was not that the Hawks were giving the guard easy shooting opportunities, but Smith was on a different level altogether.
Cavs coach David Blatt was very happy with the performance of his sharp shooter as he heaped praises as well.
"I'd love to know when the last time a guy made‑‑ how many did he make? Eight. When a guy made eight threes and got eight rebounds. That's an interesting question," Cleveland.com quoted David Blatt as saying.
Smith came up with playoff career-high 28 points as well. Such performance from Smith will relieve huge pressure for the likes of Irving and James in such a crucial series.
James feels fortunate to have players, who can spread the floor for him to play an attacking game.
"The way we were shooting the three-ball kept the last two defenders at bay," said James. "I've been fortunate to play with shooters who spread the floor so I can stay in the attack mode. They shoot the ball with extreme confidence that any time they let it go, it's going in."
The Hawks were decent, though Jeff Teague's 27 points was still not enough to help them defeat the Cavs. There were instances during the game, which saw Hawks taking lead as well, but it was quickly pulled back due to the determination and confidence of the Cavs' players.
The Hawks will be eager to level the series as they face Cavs for the second game on Friday, but things do not look great for them as one of the star players, DeMarre Carroll injured his left knee in the fourth quarter of the game and could not come back.
Will the player be fit for the crucial second game? If not, the Hawks are in serious trouble, as he is one of their key forwards.
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