Hawks defeat Cavs to grab 6 wins in a row
The Atlanta Hawks won their sixth straight victory and extended their lead in the Eastern Conference to an astounding 11 games. Hawks started fast and finished strong to beat cold-shooting LeBron James and pulling away for a 106-97 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.
Al Horford led the team with 19 points and nine rebounds for the Hawks (49-12), who have the NBA's best record.
Kyle Korver hit two big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter after struggling much of the night.
Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers with 20 points.
MVP candidate LeBron James had 18 points and eight assists, but his season-high total of nine turnovers cost the Cavs (39-25) the game.
James shot just 5-of-13 and repeatedly turned over the ball, weighed down by the pressure coming at him from every direction.
DeMarre Carroll pestered James defensively from the tipoff to the final buzzer, and got plenty of help from his teammates.
"I wanted to be a gnat," Carroll said. "You know, when you're outside in the summer, and you can't get that gnat away from you."
"I can't be worried about the Hawks right now. It's not like we're going to face them in the first round," James said. "It was the first time they used that game plan on us. They kind of caught us by surprise. Down the road, if we get to that point, we'll be all right."
"This was an important win," said Atlanta's Dennis Schroder, who had 15 points off the bench. "That's a great team we were playing tonight."
The Hawks had six players in double figures, with Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap both scoring 16. Mike Scott had 14 and Carroll contributed with 11.
Cavaliers will return home to face Phoenix on Saturday to complete a stretch of four games in five nights while the Hawks will travel to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers.