For the second-straight game, the Cleveland Cavaliers absolutely shot the lights out from behind the arc. In Game 2, they set an NBA-record with 25 made threes. In Game 3, they hit 21/39 threes in their 121-108 come-from-behind victory in Atlanta over the Hawks.
Both teams were just about even in the first quarter, and Cleveland took a slight edge over the Hawks with a 31-28 lead. Kevin Love was terrific and had 13 points on 4/8 shooting and seven rebounds in the quarter. Only one other player, LeBron James, scored more than three points in the quarter, and he finished with six. Atlanta had a very balanced scoring attack and featured three guys with five points (Thabo Sefolosha, Kris Humphries, and Dennis Schroder), and two with four (Al Horford, Jeff Teague).
In the second, Kyle Korver awoke from his shooting slump and drilled four threes in five attempts, and led the Hawks with 12 points. Atlanta had 35 as a team on 70% shooting with Horford (11), Teague (8), and Humphries (4) accounting for the rest of the offense. The Cavs’ offense stumbled, and they tallied just 24 points in the frame on 42% shooting. Channing Frye had six off the bench to lead the team, and Iman Shumpert had five of his own. After his electrifying start, Love attempted just one shot in less than four minutes on the floor. Atlanta was up 63-55 heading into the half.
Both sides looked way more competitive out of the break. Cleveland outscored Atlanta by just two, 30-28, thanks to eight points by Kyrie Irving and seven more from Frye. Love hardly played in this quarter as well but had five points in his very limited minutes; James had four points, six rebounds, two steals, and two assists in his all-around effort. For the Hawks, Paull Millsap was virtually unguardable and recorded 13 points on 5/7 shooting in the period; Horford stayed hot as well and hit three-out-of-four shots for seven points. Teague had a remarkable knack for finding the open man and assisted on eight of the team’s 11 made field goals. The Cavs trailed by six, 91-85, entering the final frame.
And then the floodgates opened. Whether it was the Hawks’ defense falling apart, or Cleveland’s offense getting scorching hot is up for debate, but the Cavaliers nailed seven threes and shot 57% in their 36-point quarter. Three players hit double-digits for the Cavs: Irving led with 12, Frye had 11, and James was the low-scorer with ten — the trio combined to shoot 6/6 from three. Atlanta got almost nothing from Millsap and Horford who cooled down considerably and scored just two points each on 2/7 combined shooting; Teague wasn’t much better and finished 2/7 with five points and no assists.
Out of all the players, Channing Frye’s 27 points were the game-high, and he was 7/9 from downtown to boot. The King finished with 24 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists, and Irving added 24 points himself. Both Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love were extraordinary on the glass and combined to haul in 28 boards — Love had 15 and Thompson had the rest, including nine on the offensive glass.
Al Horford led the Hawks with 24 points while Teague trailed him with 19 and 14 assists. Korver had 18 on 5/9 from deep after being a non-factor in the previous two games, and Millsap rounded out the scoring with 17.
Game 4 is Sunday, May 8, at 3:30 PM EST in Atlanta.