Game 16: Cavs at Hawks
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT HAPPENED: It's about darn time.
The Cavs snapped a seven-game losing streak on the road with this stunning victory over the league's hottest team. The Hawks had won six in a row, but were stopped by the Cavs.
In each of the Cavs' previous three road games, they allowed fourth-quarter leads to evaporate down the stretch. On Friday, point guard Jeremy Pargo wouldn't let them lose. Yes, that Jeremy Pargo, who had been struggling big time in the last couple games.
Pargo scored 10 of his team-high 22 points in the fourth quarter. He made 5 of 7 shots in the fourth, many on drives into the lane, something he's got to continue to do. He's so strong, he's not intimidated by the big men in the league.
Sure, he's only 6-2, but he's built like a fire hydrant at 219 pounds.
He's talented offensively. He's got to continue to hold down his turnovers - he had four on Friday - and find the open men. He had just two assists against the Hawks.
Cavs fans love to talk about Anderson Varejao being an All-Star candidate, and he certainly is. He had 20 points and 18 rebounds for the second consecutive game. But he'll likely be joined in Houston by Hawks center Al Horford, who recorded 15 points, 11 rebounds and five assists on Friday.
Power forward Josh Smith continues to haunt the Cavs. He had a game-high 25 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. But Cavs power forward Tristan Thompson didn't run and hide. He continues to struggle offensively and is getting about half his shots blocked.
But he was a man on the boards with 15 rebounds. The Cavs can certainly live with that kind of production.
Forward Alonzo Gee's offensive rebound and putback with :00.4 left in the game proved to be the game-winner. It capped off the Cavs' furious rally in the fourth quarter when they outscored the Hawks, 31-20.
Former Cavs GM Danny Ferry now runs the Hawks. Two of his first moves were to hire two members of the Cavs organization - assistant GM Wes Wilcox and vice president of communications Garin Narain.
Ferry has really shaken things up by trading guard Joe Johnson and forward Marvin Williams. Those moves were needed to provide some salary-cap relief.
The Cavs snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Hawks. They hadn't won in Atlanta since Dec. 29, 2009.
They also ended their four-game losing streak overall.
The Cavs waived forward Luke Harangody on Thursday and signed Canton Charge forward Kevin Jones. He'll play for the Charge on Friday and probably remain in the D-League for the time being.
If I were Coach Byron Scott, I would immediately insert Jones into his rotation. The second unit needs some energy. Jones might not be overly talented, but at least he'll knock a few guys on their rear ends.
It was time to jettison Harangody, who wasn't an NBA player. I thought he should have been waived in the preseason.
He hadn't appeared in a game all season. Coach Byron Scott dusted off backup point guard Donald Sloan, who had played a total of three minutes since Kyrie Irving was injured. Sloan plays 11 minutes on Friday and had four points, two rebounds and one assist. He warranted a further look.
Let's not forget Dion Waiters, who had 21 points and seven assists against the Hawks. Many are focusing on his field-goal percentage that keeps dropping. I think those observers should be focusing on his overall play. I think he's playing very well and getting better every game.
UP NEXT: The Cavs host Portland at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.
SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. DeShawn Stevenson (6-5, 218)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Josh Smith (6-9, 225)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 260) vs. Al Horford (6-10, 250)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Devin Harris (6-3, 192)
PG Jeremy Pargo (6-2, 219) vs. Jeff Teague (6-2, 181)
Cavs – F Kevin Jones, G Kyrie Irving
Hawks - G/F Kyle Korver
Scott Foster, Mark Ayotte, Curtis Blair