The Cleveland Cavaliers scored 74 points in the first half, the most points scored in any half by a team in this year's postseason. The team had a combined 18 three-pointers, just two shy of 20 threes they made in Game 2 against the Pistons in the opening round, a game total that tied the playoff record for most team three-point field goals (before the Warriors set a new record at 21 against the Rockets). J.R. Smith led the team in the first half, shooting 6-of-10 from behind the arc. LeBron James and Kevin Love had three three-pointers each. Add in completions from Kyrie Irving, Channing Frye, Matthew Dellavedova, and Richard Jefferson, and you have yourself a God Dream. The only two Cavaliers to not score behind the arc? Tristan Thompson and Iman Shumpert, who simply didn't try.
I, like many bloggers, have been guilting of using Kanye West's "ultralight beam" reference one too many times to describe performances in these playoffs, and I regret all of them because tonight of all nights was a God Dream in Quicken Loans Arena. How did the Cavaliers score 18 three-pointers in a half? They completed 66.7 percent of attempts from behind the arc. James, Irving, and Dellavedova combined for 13 assists and Smith made more than a couple threes he had no business making, including a fadeaway shot after a dribble behind the back to dodge a leaping Kyle Korver. The Cavaliers went into the locker room up 35 points, 74-38.
By the 5:33 mark in the third quarter, an Irving three-pointer off James's assist tied the Warriors record and a follow up from Irving got the record 22nd make on the next possession. By game's end, the Cavaliers had 25 combined three-point completions, the last for the NBA record from Dahntay Jones and Mo Williams
As for the Hawks, the strategy following Game 1 seemed to be limit LeBron James's points in the paint, which cost them in a close fourth quarter. The plan appeared to backfire with the onslaught of perimeter shooting that buried the Hawks early in the second quarter. And James still managed to score eight of his team-high 27 points in the paint, to go with four rebounds, three steals, and five assists. Paull Millsap led the Hawks with 16 points and 11 rebounds, but his team lost the battle on the boards 43 to 40. Granted there were fewer opportunities for rebounds with the Cavs 55.6 percent shooting from the three-point range.
The series now heads to Atlanta for Game 3 on Friday, the first in a pair of weekend games. The Cavaliers, up 2-0 on the series, will look to continue its 6-0 record against the Hawks in the Playoffs.
- LeBron had slight foul trouble, as he had four through midway in the third.
- That didn't matter much as the Cavaliers held a 36-point lead headed into the fourth and opted to rest the Cavs starters and the first postseason minutes for Mo Williams.
- Ten different Cavaliers hit three-pointers tonight (Shumpert got one in the second half with Jones and Williams)
- The fourth quarter was so boring that a suit from Elvis Presley at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame got more screen time than the James, Irving, or Love.
For the record: This is my second recap for Fear the Sword in the Playoffs. The Cavaliers are 45 of 83 from behind the three-point line in those games. I promise to be back soon.