Hawks vs. Cavaliers: Game 2 Score and Twitter Reaction from 2016 NBA Playoffs – Bleacher Report

Hawks vs. Cavaliers: Game 2 Score and Twitter Reaction from 2016 NBA Playoffs – Bleacher Report

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The Cleveland Cavaliers collectively shrugged like Michael Jordan in Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals on Wednesday night as they rained down an NBA-record 25 threes and crushed the Atlanta Hawks, 123-98, to take a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.   

The 123 points were also the second-most the Cavaliers had ever notched in a playoff win, according to Basketball-Reference.com

During a season that saw Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors repeatedly take a blowtorch to NBA record books, the Cavaliers somehow broke new ground and required just two-and-a-half quarters to make postseason history before setting the all-time single-game mark late in the fourth quarter: 

In a stellar and balanced effort, LeBron James finished with 27 points (9-of-15 shooting, 4-of-6 from three),five assists and four rebounds, while microwave-scorer extraordinaire J.R. Smith lit it up to the tune of 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including seven buckets from beyond the arc. 

According to Basketball-Reference.com, Smith has now made at least seven threes in a playoff game on three occasions—two of which have come this postseason. 

Kyrie Irving added 19 points (4-of-5 shooting from three) and six assists, and Kevin Love posted his sixth playoff double-double (11 points, 13 rebounds) in as many opportunities. 

Paul Millsap (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Jeff Teague (14 points) led the way for the Hawks, but they finished with just three more threes (11) than the Cavs hit as a team in the first quarter. 

After missing their first two three-point attempts in the opening period, the Cavaliers proceeded to drain eight of their next 10—four of which came courtesy of Smith, who poured in 14 points in the frame. 

The first-quarter shooting was particularly outrageous because the Cavaliers posted eight conversions from beyond the arc and just three inside of it, per NBA.com’s shot chart (via USA Today‘s Jeff Zillgitt): 

That trend carried over into the second quarter, when the Cavaliers went ballistic from beyond the arc. In the 12 minutes that preceded halftime, Cleveland hit another 10 threes to set an NBA playoff record with 18 conversions from distance in the first half. 

To put that number in perspective, the Golden State Warriors previously owned the record for threes made in a 24-minute span with 12 against the Houston Rockets in Game 4 of this year’s Western Conference quarterfinals. 

However, the Cavaliers made that mark look like child’s play, as NBA.com/Stats on Twitter illustrated:  

But at least the Hawks were good sports about it. 

The Cavaliers’ 36-point halftime lead was the second largest in playoff history, according to Elias Sports Bureau (via NBA TV on Twitter),and they didn’t relent en route to setting the record and embarrassing the opposition. 

Not letting such a historic beatdown linger will be hard for the Hawks, but they’re a seasoned squad that should find some more balance back in friendlier surroundings. 

To wit: In three first-round home games against the Boston Celtics, the Hawks held the opposition to 84.6 points per 100 possessions—a mark that ranked second behind only the San Antonio Spurs, according to NBA.com’s statistical database

However, the Hawks may need to do more than harness a little first-round magic if they want to silence the Cavs for even one game. 

Beyond simply lighting it up from deep, Cleveland’s passing has been pinpoint, and its defensive rotations have been fundamentally sound.

In other words, the defending Eastern Conference champions finally look like the world-beaters they projected to be a year ago before Irving and Love suffered serious injuries that left the team short-handed against the Warriors. 

Hawks vs. Cavaliers: Game 2 Score and Twitter Reaction from 2016 NBA Playoffs – Bleacher Report