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Cavs get Game 1 scare, hold on

LeBron James, who leads the Cavaliers with 25 points, celebrates during the second half, when the Hawks rally from 18 down to briefly take a lead.

Associated Press

LeBron James, who leads the Cavaliers with 25 points, celebrates during the second half, when the Hawks rally from 18 down to briefly take a lead.

CLEVELAND — LeBron James scored 25, Kyrie Irving added 21 and the Cavaliers withstood a strong comeback to maintain their chokehold on the Hawks with a 104-93 victory on Monday night in the opening game of their second-round Eastern Conference series.

James converted a critical three-point play with 2:09 left for the Cavs, who fell behind in the fourth after leading by 18. Cleveland swept Atlanta in last year's Eastern Conference final and has won eight straight over the Hawks. Cleveland is 9-0 against Atlanta in the postseason.

Dennis Schroder scored a playoff career-high 27 and rallied the Hawks before they bogged down in crunch time with two field goals in the final four minutes.

James' three-point play, which he punctuated by flexing his biceps, came after he stripped the ball from Schroder and the Cavs kept their possession alive with offensive rebounds by Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith.

Al Horford's dunk with eight minutes left gave the Hawks their first lead at 80-79, but Irving made a 3-pointer. There were four lead changes and three ties in the final eight minutes.

Horford went 4 of 13 in his team-record 71st playoff game. Jeff Teague ranks second with 59.

James played in his 183rd playoff game, tying former Cavs coach Byron Scott for 14th all time.

Cavaliers 104, Hawks 93

ATLANTA (93): Bazemore 6-14 1-2 16, Millsap 6-19 5-8 17, Horford 4-13 0-1 10, Korver 0-1 3-3 3, Teague 2-9 3-4 8, Sefolosha 1-3 0-0 2, Scott 3-3 0-0 7, Schroder 10-20 2-2 27, Hardaway 0-4 0-0 0, Muscala 0-0 0-0 0, Patterson 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 33-87 16-21 93.

CLEVELAND (104): James 11-21 1-1 25, Love 4-17 6-7 17, Thompson 3-6 2-4 8, Smith 4-8 0-2 12, Irving 8-18 2-2 21, Shumpert 1-2 0-0 2, Dellavedova 0-2 1-2 1, Frye 2-5 3-3 8, Jefferson 3-3 0-0 8, Mozgov 0-0 0-0 0, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, D. Jones 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 37-83 15-21 104.

Atlanta 19 22 29 23— 93

Cleveland 31 21 23 30— 104

3-Point GoalsAtlanta 11-34 (Schroder 5-10, Bazemore 3-10, Scott 1-1, Patterson 1-1, Teague 1-4, Horford 0-1, Korver 0-1, Hardaway Jr. 0-2, Millsap 0-3 ), Cleveland 15-31 (Smith 4-7, Love 3-9, Irving 3-5, James 2-4, Jefferson 2-2, Frye 1-3, Dellavedova 0-1). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsAtlanta 58 (Millsap 13), Cleveland 44 (Thompson 14). AssistsAtlanta 21 (Schroeder 6), Cleveland 27 (James 9). Total FoulsAtlanta 22, Cleveland 20. A20,562.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki said he will opt out of the final year of his contract, but reiterated that he intends to stay with Dallas for the rest of his career. Nowitzki, who turns 38 next month, was due a little over $8 million next season. The likely scenario is that he re-signs for two seasons. … Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he would not break up Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, regardless of any trade offers. "I like our core and I like our bench, which was really good this year," Rivers said. "We're close.'' … Knicks forward/center Kristaps Porzingis won't play for Latvia in the Olympic qualifying tournament this summer, instead spending the offseason working on his overall game. … Pacers president Larry Bird said he is not sure if coach Frank Vogel will return. Bird said his priority is more offense, particularly in the playoffs.

Cavs get Game 1 scare, hold on 05/02/16 [Last modified: Monday, May 2, 2016 11:13pm]
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