The Cavaliers beat the Atlanta Hawks 100-99 on Sunday in game four of the teams second round matchup. With the the win the Cavaliers advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight season.
The first half of the game was a battle of attrition for the Cavs. The Hawks jumped on the Cavs in the first quarter due to hot shooting and strong interior defense. Two quick fouls on Tristan Thompson greatly affected the way the Cavs played defense and Cleveland found themselves down by nine after the first frame. During the second quarter the Cavs got the game back on track behind strong three point shooting and narrowed the deficit to just two at the half. The Cavs were 10-16 from behind the arc in the first half of the game.
The second half started the same way the first ended, with the Cavs making threes. Kevin Love lead the way and powered Cleveland to a four point lead heading into the final quarter. Love had a marquee game for the Cavs finishing with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Love's strong game illustrated just exactly what the team was missing last season after his injury in the first round. While it has been a popular take to say the Cavs were better off last season without Irving and Love this series showed just how dangerous a fully healthy Cleveland team can be.
With just one quarter standing between them and the Easter Conference Finals, LeBron James and company looked to close out the series, but the Hawks would not go quietly. Dennis Schroder made an up and under layup with 1:31 remaining in the game to give the Hawks a 97-96 lead. The final minute and a half of the game was a complete team effort to close out the win. Tyronn Lue drew up a great inbounds play, Thompson got a massive block and LeBron made clutch plays on each end of the court.
The Cavs will now get some significant rest while they await their matchup with the winner of the Heat vs. Raptors series which is currently 2-1 in favor of Toronto.