After the Atlanta Hawks had squandered a few chances to take a lead and run away with the game, the Cavaliers answered with the play of their two superstars. Both LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were sensational and allowed Cleveland to walk out of Game 1 with a 104-93 victory.
The Hawks got off a noticeably shaky start and tallied just 19 first quarter points on 33% shooting from the field. Kent Bazemore, however, played with remarkable energy and put in eight points to avoid letting the game get out of hand. Irving and LeBron got their work started early and combined for 17 of Cleveland’s 30 first quarter points on 7/10 shooting. Kevin Love had a poor offensive showing in the first and didn’t connect on a single field goal in six tries. He did, however, have a significant contribution on the boards and pulled in six.
Atlanta didn’t catch fire in the second, either, but got lucky as Cleveland’s offense, outside of James and Richard Jefferson, was unable to get going. Jefferson gave eight points on 3/3 shooting off the bench to lead the scoring for the quarter; James was right behind him with six points of his own and three assists. Dennis Schroder saw extended time in the period and poured in ten points in less than nine minutes of play. No other Hawk was active on offense and the team combined to shoot just 26% from the field. Heading into halftime, Cleveland held a 51-41 lead.
The game looked like it was starting to slip away from the Cavaliers as they were outscored in the third quarter 29-23 behind another explosive stint from Schroder. In five minutes of play, Schroder was able to lead Atlanta’s scoring effort with eight on 3/3 from the field. His teammates also saw some success and the Hawks raised their field goal percentage to 58% for the period. Cleveland looked somewhat jumbled on offense and Love and James accounted for 15 of the team’s points. Irving had an off period in regards to shooting where he was 0/6, but his playmaking ability stayed relevant, and Uncle Drew handed out five dimes. Heading into the final quarter, Cleveland’s lead was cut to 74-70.
After throwing up a goose egg in the previous quarter, Irving got back on track and came up clutch. He registered nine points and facilitated a large amount of the offense within the final minutes of the game. James was rather ineffective shooting-wise with just five points on 2/6 shooting but left his mark on nearly every other part of the game — three rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Schroder had another high-scoring quarter with seven but looked visibly exhausted from bearing an unusual offensive load, and having to guard Irving on defense. Cleveland outscored Atlanta 30-23.
Schroder was the game’s leading scorer with 27 on 10/20 shooting while Paul Millsap had 17 points of his own, but also 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. For Cleveland, LeBron narrowly missed out on a triple-double and led the team with 25 points, nine assists, seven rebounds, and five steals. Tristan Thompson was ridiculous on the glass and had seven rebounds on both the offensive and defensive backboards. Kyrie Irving added 21 points and eight assists.
Game 2 will be played Wednesday, May 4, at 8:00 PM EST in Cleveland.