For much of Monday night's game, it looked as if the Cleveland Cavaliers were going to cruise to a Game 1 victory against the Atlanta Hawks. Cleveland led at the half and led 72-54 with 3:56 left in the third quarter after a LeBron James dunk.
The Hawks, though, responded after James' slam. Atlanta went on to score 11 straight points and cut Cleveland's lead to four at the end of the third quarter. Atlanta then proceed to to take its first lead of the game with eight minutes left on the fourth as part of a 10-0 run.
The Cavs, though, had just enough to respond. Kyrie Irving - who started off strong, but struggled for a long stretch - scored seven straight points during a fourth quarter burst. With 3:11 left, the Cavs began to take over for good when LeBron James stole the ball from Hawks guard Dennis Schroder. About minute later with 2:09 left, James caught an Irving pass, was fouled and finished inside to give the Cavs a 95-88 lead. That basket was James' first of the fourth quarter and also his first (and only) free throw on the night. And as the Cavs surged, the Hawks again struggled and failed to make a field goal over the final four-plus minutes of the fourth quarter.
LeBron finished with a team-high 25 points to go along with nine assists and seven rebounds. Irving added 21 point and eight assists for the Cavs. Schroder led all scorers with 27 points off the bench.
The Cavs' win is their eighth straight over the Hawks. Game 2 in on Wednesday in Cleveland.