Cavs coach Tyronn Lue calls out Barkley, defends three-point record – USA TODAY

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USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt breaks down the Cavaliers record-breaking night in their Game 2 victory over the Hawks.

ATLANTA – Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue had the perfect – and only – response to Charles Barkley’s suggestion that an Atlanta Hawks player needed to “take somebody out” during Cleveland’s 123-98 destruction of the Hawks in Game 2 on Wednesday.

“I don’t think there’s any place in our game to take someone out if they’re playing well,” Lue said during a conference call with reporters on Thursday. “I think you can take it upon yourself to play harder and do things to stop it or stop a team from playing well.

“But when it gets into trying to hurt guys or trying to take guys out, that’s just not right. Hopefully the referees will keep an eye on it and make sure it’s a clean game. We don’t mind if it’s a physical game, but clean and everything that they do and we do is basketball related. I don’t believe in taking guys out and trying to hurt guys because a team or a player is playing well.”

Exactly. In playoff basketball, hard fouls are expected. Sometimes necessary. But crossing the line – the attempt to injure another player – that’s unacceptable.

Game 3 is Friday in Atlanta (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Barkley, who made his comments on TNT, is wrong, and so are the Hawks players who complained about the Cleveland Cavaliers push for a three-point record.

The Hawks gave up an NBA-record 25 three-pointers in Cleveland’s victory, and a few Hawks players weren’t happy the Cavs kept shooting three-pointers.

“I think our team and our organization has class, and I don’t think we would have continued to do that, but other organizations do other things so what can you do about it?” Paul Millsap told

Here’s what you do about. Defend. Stop the other team. This isn’t a 10-year-old youth league. These are well-paid professionals – most making millions, including $18.6 million for Millsap this season.

The Cavaliers had 18 three-pointers in the first half, and an NBA-playoff record 22 three-pointers before the third quarter ended. Cleveland’s starters did not play in the fourth quarter. After reviewing each three-pointer the Cavs made, 10 were wide-open threes with little effort to contest. On a handful of others, the Hawks contested but were late. They played defense on some, and players such as Smith made difficult shots.

“If people at home are saying, ‘Why is Cleveland continuing to shoot threes and run up the score?’ ” Reggie Miller said on the TNT broadcast. “Well, it’s the Atlanta Hawks’ job to stop someone. You can’t be upset with the Cleveland Cavaliers. They’re doing their job to win the ball game.”

NBA playoffs: Best of second round

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue calls out Barkley, defends three-point record – USA TODAY

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