Atlanta Hawks shock Cleveland Cavaliers second straight time

By Guy Curtright, The Sports Xchange
Atlanta Hawks shock Cleveland Cavaliers second straight time
Atlanta Hawks Mike Muscala dunks over Cleveland Cavaliers' J.R. Smith during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on April 7, 2017. Atlanta stunned the Cavaliers again on Sunday, coming back from a 26-point deficit to win in overtime. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks topped their stunning short-handed victory in Cleveland on Friday with a 26-point fourth-quarter comeback on Sunday to shock the Cavaliers in overtime.

The Hawks, who never led until overtime, took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Mike Muscala with 35 seconds left and shocked the Cavaliers 126-125.


Kent Bazemore had a steal and basket with 22 seconds left, and Tim Hardaway Jr. made two clinching free throws with 3.6 seconds remaining.

Kyrie Irving completed a 45-point game for the Cavaliers with a meaningless basket at the buzzer.

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LeBron James had 32 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists but fouled out in overtime.

Cleveland led 93-67 after the third quarter, but the Hawks outscored the Cavaliers 44-18 in the fourth and tied it at 111 on Paul Millsap's short jumper at the buzzer after Atlanta won a jump ball.

The loss dropped the Cavaliers (51-29) into a tie with Boston for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, although Cleveland owns the tiebreaker. Both teams have two games remaining.

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The Hawks won 114-100 at Cleveland on Friday without five regulars but were no match for the Cavaliers in the rematch until the fourth quarter despite having all except one of the players back.

Millsap finished with 22 points and Hardaway scored 21.

The victory gave Atlanta (42-38) a one-game lead over Milwaukee for the fifth seed in the East. The Hawks also own the tiebreaker against the Bucks with two games remaining for both teams.

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The Cavaliers, who set an NBA record with 25 3-point baskets in Atlanta on March 3, hit their first three treys and had seven in going up 38-21 after the first quarter.

Cleveland was ahead 65-46 at halftime and in control as Irving had 19 points. James did it all with 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

The Hawks scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter to start the furious comeback and the Cavaliers had three late turnovers as Atlanta forced overtime.

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NOTES: Cavaliers F/C Tristan Thompson missed his third consecutive game because of a sprained right thumb and is doubtful for Monday at Miami. ... Cleveland cleared a roster spot for a late addition by waiving G/F DeAndre Liggins, who started 19 games this season while G J.R. Smith was out. A player must be signed by Wednesday to be eligible for the playoffs and GM David Griffin indicated Sunday that the team would do so. ... The Hawks, minus five regulars on Friday in Cleveland, were at full strength except for G/F Thabo Sefolosha (groin). ... The Cavaliers finish the regular season at home against Toronto on Wednesday. ... The Hawks, who clinched a 10th straight playoff berth on Saturday without playing, host Charlotte on Tuesday before closing the regular season on Wednesday at Indiana.


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