Game 2: Cavs at Hawks
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (2-0) 94, ATLANTA HAWKS (0-2) 82
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
1. Once again, it's become survival of the fittest. The Cavs played without point guard Kyrie Irving (tendinitis in left knee). They didn't miss him on this night, largely because his teammates made shots. Iman Shumpert (16 points), James Jones (nine points) and J.R. Smith (nine points) drained jumper after jumper. They made 12 of 30 from long range.
2. Obviously, not having your point guard hurts. But as you probably know, LeBron James has been handling point guard duties for quite some time now. James dished out a game-high 11 assists. That lessened the blow of missing Irving. What Irving brings is his offensive arsenal. His expected replacement, Matthew Dellavedova, is no where near the same player. Delly got off to a slow start, but finished with 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and one steal. He had three turnovers in 37 minutes.
3. Some how, forward DeMarre Carroll was in the starting lineup for the Hawks. He didn't appear as pesky as he normally is on the defensive end. He's one of a handful of players in the league that can actually guard James. Guarding the four-time MVP is difficult when completely healthy. The one thing in his favor was his "junkyard dog" mentality.
4. There are some who think Irving should sit in Game 3, as well. The Cavs have a 2-0 lead in the series and will get a big lift from the sold-out home crowd. They can probably get by without the three-time All-Star. They are certainly going to need him in the NBA Finals - if they get there - against either team in the Western Conference. Irving missed shootaround on Friday morning. We found out later he was visiting Dr. James Andrews in Florida. He did sit on the bench for Game 2.
5. Cavs swingman J.R. Smith had eight 3s in Game 1. He came back to earth in Game 2, but still played well off the bench.
6. The Hawks certainly aren't panicking. "We're very confident," Carroll said. "No one is hanging their heads. We're down 0-2. It's not the end of the world." But it might be the end of the series.
7. In the first two games of the series, the Cavs have outrebounded the Hawks, 96-76. It all starts with Tristan Thompson, who had 16 rebounds, one off his postseason high.
8. James recorded his sixth game of 30 or more points in the postseason this season and the 74th of his career.
9. Injured center Anderson Varejao was at shootaround and looked like he was ready to play. "I wish," he said. Of course, he's still recovering from the torn Achilles. Wouldn't it be great to see him on the court?
10. James was asked about the Hawks being desperate in Game 2. "We are just as desperate as they are," he said.
UP NEXT: Game 3, vs. Atlanta, Eastern Conference finals, Sunday, May 24, 8:30 p.m.
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. DeMarre Carroll (6-8, 212)
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. Al Horford (6-10, 245)
SG Iman Shumpert (6-5, 220) vs. Kyle Korver (6-7, 212)
Hawks - G/F Thabo Sefolosha, F Austin Daye