CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers are facing an identity crisis of sorts.
They made more 3-pointers in a game Wednesday than any other team in NBA history, yet LeBron James insists they are not a 3-point shooting team.
Regardless of labels, at their current rate, the Cavaliers are legitimate threats to win the first NBA championship in team history.
James scored 27 points, and the Cavs made 25 3-pointers to pound the Atlanta Hawks 123-98 Wednesday night and take a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Friday at Atlanta.
Ten Cavs made 3-pointers, led by J.R. Smith with seven. Dahntay Jones' corner 3-pointer with 2:24 left gave the Cavs the all-time record, surpassing the 2009 Orlando Magic and the 2014 Houston Rockets, who each made 23 treys in a game. The Cavs finished 25-for-45 from long range and are now averaging 16.2 3-pointers per playoff game, easily the most of any team this year.
However, James insists it isn't their identity.
"We're not a 3-point shooting team. We don't want to be labeled that," he said. "We're a well-balanced team that's capable of making threes. ... Obviously, we've got guys that can knock down shots from the perimeter. It's been key to our success, but we have to continue to understand that we have to be very balanced offensively."
The Cavs' 18 3-pointers in the first half also set a record. The long-range assault carried Cleveland to a 74-38 halftime lead -- the largest in the NBA during a playoff game since 1987. The Cavs led by as many as 41 in the third quarter.
Smith's 3-pointer in the second quarter, after he dribbled behind his back to shake Hawks guard Kyle Korver, put the Cavs ahead 65-35. Smith celebrated with a skip/strut to the other end of the floor without breaking stride.
The Cavs never lost their rhythm all night.
"For the last month and a half, that's pretty much the way we've been playing," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. "We've been sharing the basketball, playing at a high tempo, moving bodies. When we're sharing and we're playing at a high pace and getting stops and everyone touches it, it becomes contagious. Everyone has fun and enjoys playing that way."
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said the Cavs' 3-point shooting was a huge concern after Cleveland made 15 3-pointers in its Game 1 victory. This time, the Cavs made their 15th 3-pointer in the second quarter.
"If they shoot the ball like that," Hawks guard Kyle Korver said, "I don't know if anyone can beat them, to be honest."
Even the Cavaliers' mascot Moondog got in on the fun, banking in a half-court shot over his head during the second half. The game got so out of hand in the second quarter, the Hawks' official Twitter account couldn't help but make light of the situation.
"If you take away their 3's we're right in this..." the Hawks tweeted.
The Cavs have won their last nine games against the Hawks and all 10 postseason games between the two teams. Now the Hawks have to scramble to save what is left of their season after losing the first two games of this series by double figures. They were swept by the Cavs last year in the conference finals as well.
"Obviously, they're shooting it unbelievably well," Budenholzer said. "They're obviously a team that's put together well, and we're going to have to be very good to change it."
NOTES: Hawks F Mike Scott entered the night shooting .615 and 50 percent (8-for-16) on 3-pointers. He had no shot attempts in 19 minutes Wednesday. Scott shot at least 50 percent from the field in six of the Hawks' first seven postseason games. ... Cavs F LeBron James admitted he would like to face Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat, his old team, during the conference finals. Both teams began Wednesday three wins from making it a reality. "It'd be great to play against those guys in the postseason," James said. "Throughout my whole career, I've always wanted to go against Wade in a playoff series. We've always talked about it even before we became teammates in '10. It's not been heavy on my mind, but it's crossed my mind throughout my whole career." ... James tied Robert Parish on Wednesday for 13th place on the postseason games played list with 184.