Cleveland at Atlanta

Hawks stun red-hot Cavs, end Cleveland's 11-game win streak

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- Mike Bibby had a message for all those ambivalent Hawks fans in Atlanta.

"I didn't come to watch LeBron James," Bibby said. "I came to play."

Bibby scored 24 points, Marvin Williams hit the clinching free throws, and Atlanta snapped the Cleveland Cavaliers' 11-game winning streak with a 97-92 victory Saturday night.

James had 33 points and nine assists for the Cavs, who overcame a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to take a 70-68 lead early in the fourth on Mo Williams' layup.

The deficit was Cleveland's first in the second half since its last loss, a 96-89 defeat at Detroit on Nov. 19. The Cavs were trying for the first 12-game winning streak in franchise history, having won 11 in a row four times, the last in 1994-95.

"You can't win 'em all," James said. "We didn't expect to win every last game and go 79-3. We played hard. It was just a matter that they got more stops at the end than we did."

After eight lead changes over a six-minute span in the fourth quarter, Atlanta never trailed after Bibby made it 84-83 with a 10-footer with 4:40 remaining.

The Hawks are trying to build their fan support after making the playoffs last season for the first time in nine years. Despite taking eventual NBA champion Boston to a deciding seventh game in the first round of the postseason, Atlanta seemingly has yet to convince many fickle fans that the Hawks are as much worth the price of admission as seeing a superstar such as James.

Joe Johnson, who's led the Hawks in scoring the last four seasons, remains resolute that winning is the only solution to earn the public's respect. He answered a five-point run from James midway through the third with two long jumpers and a pair of free throws that put Atlanta ahead 80-77 with 6:35 remaining.

"To come out and put up the fight we did, that shows a lot about the character of this team," Johnson said. "It was beautiful, seeing the guys step up and make plays. Mike is a go-to guy. A lot of times when I get double-teamed, he is open for a shot. It's pick your poison."

Mo Williams finished with 26 points for Cleveland, the only NBA team to rank in the top 10 in both scoring and points allowed.

"The streak wasn't even mentioned," Williams said. "That's not a goal for us. It means we've got to start another one."

Cleveland was playing its second straight game without injured starting center Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Anderson Varejao's 11 points and eight rebounds weren't enough to compensate on the front line with Ben Wallace going scoreless on just two shots from the field.

James made Cleveland's last field goal, a layup with 1:31 remaining that cut its deficit to two. He then drove the lane with Cleveland trailing 95-92, drawing defenders but choosing instead to whip a pass to the perimeter. After Sasha Pavlovic missed a 3-point attempt from the right corner, James tipped a rebound to Delonte West, whose runner bounced to the Hawks.

"We had a chance to win," James said. "The team that we're trying to become, we've got to win games like this. They got one more stop than we did."

Atlanta has won two straight after dropping three consecutive road games at Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

"This was definitely a big win for us," Bibby said. "They're one of the top teams in the league. We showed how good we can be when we play defense."

Notes

  • Josh Smith's one block came in the final minute when West tried to launch a 3 in front of the Hawks' bench. The ball was less than 10 feet from West's hands when Smith slapped it into the crowd.
  • James scored 14 points in the fourth quarter.
  • Bibby and Johnson combined for 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting in the final period.
  • Atlanta entertainer Ludacris announced the pregame lineups.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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Joe Johnson shows off his smooth shooting stroke during his 17-point performance.  (Getty Images)
Joe Johnson shows off his smooth shooting stroke during his 17-point performance. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Cleveland (20-4) 2414282692
Atlanta (14-9) «3116212997
CLE:L. James 33 Pts
CLE:A. Varejao 8 Reb
CLE:L. James 9 Ast
ATL:M. Bibby 24 Pts
ATL:J. Smith 8 Reb
ATL:J. Johnson 8 Ast
Players of the Game
AtlantaCleveland

M. Bibby

L. James
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
24653369
Cleveland
L. James, SF4610-1911-1269233
D. West, SG405-190-025111
M. Williams, PG4011-213-343326
A. Varejao, C375-101-480611
B. Wallace, C250-20-06230
S. Pavlovic, SG243-50-05147
W. Szczerbiak, SF200-54-43124
D. Jackson, PF50-00-00020
J. Hickson, PF30-10-00010
Z. Ilgauskas, CDid Not Play
E. Snow, PGDid Not Play
L. Wright, CDid Not Play
J. Williams, FDid Not Play
D. Gibson, PGDid Not Play
T. Kinsey, SFDid Not Play
Totals 34-8219-2334212492
 41.5%82.6% 
Atlanta
M. Bibby, PG419-163-465124
J. Johnson, SG417-173-538117
M. Williams, SF383-611-1372119
A. Horford, PF343-56-781512
J. Smith, SF335-82-282412
Z. Pachulia, C222-44-46058
R. Murray, PG171-52-40005
M. Evans, SF140-20-02020
S. Claxton, PGDid Not Play
S. Jones, PFDid Not Play
R. Morris, CDid Not Play
A. Law, PGDid Not Play
T. Gardner, SGDid Not Play
M. West, SGDid Not Play
O. Hunter, SFDid Not Play
Totals 30-6331-3940181997
 47.6%79.5% 
Other Games
Det 90 Final
Char 86
Wash 89 Final
Phi 104
NJ 104 Final
Chi 113
Ind 103 Final
Mil 121
OKC 99 Final
Dal 103
GS 105 Final
Den 123
Orl 103 Final
Utah 94
NY 114 Final
Sac 90
Hou 82 Final
LAC 95