Sometimes it really is better to be lucky than good. Some people don;t believe in luck, believing instead that people make their own lcuk with hard work and effort. Those people need to watch a tape of this game. The Cavaliers were sloppy at times, unfocused at others. In the end, with a bit of luck and some determination, they were able to sneak out of Phillips Arena in Atlanta with a hard-earned 88-87 victory thanks to a free throw by LeBron James with 1.6 seconds to go.
The Cavs plodded through much of the frist 36 minutes, building a 13-point third quarter lead only to see it vanish in the midst of a 30-10 Hawks run. The Hawks built a sizable lead of their own - 7 points in the 4th quarter - before the Cavaliers got their act together in the nick of time.
For much of the 2nd half it appeared the Cavaliers, and more importantly Coach Mike Brown, was going to get outplayed and outcoached. Like the game against the Rockets 3 days earlier, the Cavaliers looked a half-step slow physically and a full step mentally. The offense became the pass and dribble show with little to no movement without the ball. The result was the Hawks didn't have to work very hard on defense, allowing them to utilize their energy on offense.
It had all the makings of a crushing loss. Think about it. The Celtics and Lakers had lost and the Cavs had the chance to make up some ground. Add to that the fact that the Hawks may be an opponent of the Cavaliers in the playoffs and had beaten the Cavaliers in Atlanta already and a comeback win in March could be a huge confidence boost. Instead, by blowing a 5 point lead with 3 minutes reminain, the Hawks now have to question if they can beat the Cavaliers when it counts, even with the win earlier this year.
LeBron James wasn't great, but he made the plays, and free throws, when he needed to. James finished with 26 points, 11 assists and 6 rebounds. Mo Williams also had a solid night, scoring 20 points, and hit the biggest shot of the night, a 3 with less than a minute to go that tied the score at 87 and set up the win. Mo continues to be the difference for a Cavaliers team that has now won more games(46) than they did all of last season(45).
At 20-11 on the road, Cleveland can tie the club record for road wins(21) tomorrow night when they face the Miami Heat.