The Cleveland Cavaliers withstood a furious second-half rally from the Atlanta Hawks and outscored the opposition by 12 points down the stretch to earn a 104-93 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Quicken Loans Arena Monday night.
In order to withstand the rally, the Cavaliers turned a pair of late Hawks turnovers into three points, and got two offensive rebounds on a late possession, and those hustle plays from center Tristan Thompson and shooting guard J.R. Smith led to a three-point play from small forward LeBron James. The late 17-5 run proved to be enough for the top-seeded Cavaliers to earn the hard-fought win over the Hawks, the No. 4 seed in the East.
James led the way for the Cavaliers with 25 points, while point guard Kyrie Irving (21), power forward Kevin Love (17, 11 rebounds) and Smith (12) also reached in double figures.
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