Cavaliers make NBA history in thrilling 135-130 victory over Hawks
ATLANTA (AP) — On a record-breaking night when Kyrie Irving and LeBron James combined for 81 points, it was fitting that the biggest shot belonged to Kyle Korver.
Irving scored 43 points, James had 38 and the Cleveland Cavaliers set the NBA regular-season record with 25 3-pointers as they turned back Atlanta’s late rally to beat the Hawks 135-130 on Friday night.
After Paul Millsap’s baseline jumper over James cut Cleveland’s lead to 124-123, Korver — who was traded from Atlanta to the Cavaliers on Jan. 7 — hit the record-breaking 3-pointer.
“Kyle knocked it down when it mattered the most,” said Atlanta’s Tim Hardaway Jr. “That’s why he’s one of the best shooters.”
Cleveland made 25 of 46 3s to break a record that stood less than three months. Houston made 24 treys in a 122-100 win over New Orleans on Dec. 16.
James, who made six of 10 3s, had 13 rebounds and eight assists.
“It was great to be a part of a record-setting night, and it’s even better that Kyle was the one to hit the record back in the building that he played so many seasons in,” James said.
Korver played in Atlanta for five seasons. Players from both benches applauded the Hawks’ video tribute for Korver after the first quarter.
Korver hugged many of his former teammates during pregame warmups and was cheered by fans, some wearing his Hawks jersey, when he entered the game with 3:16 remaining in the first quarter.
Cleveland’s biggest lead was 25 points. The Hawks made things interesting by outscoring the Cavaliers 42-29 in the fourth period.
“They started shooting 3s, too,” James said. “And started making them.”
Hardaway made five of nine 3-pointers and led the Hawks with a career-high 36 points, including 11 in the final period. Millsap had 12 of his 27 points in the fourth period.
“I was proud of the way the guys kept fighting,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer. “We’ll get better. We’ll learn from tonight.”
The Cavaliers set the high-scoring pace by scoring 39 points in the first period. The Hawks also shot well, making 55.6 percent of their shots in the first half, but still trailed 77-60 at the break. The Cavaliers made 14 of 23 3-pointers in the first half.
Cavaliers: Korver made three 3s and had nine points. … Coach Tyronn Lue was sniffling with cold symptoms, but said, “I’ll be all right. As long as I don’t get anybody else sick.” … Lue said he has not settled on a plan to fit center Andrew Bogut, who signed with the team on Thursday, into his rotation. Lue said Channing Frye, who had 11 points, will continue to start. Bogut has not yet joined the team. … Irving made each of his 10 free throws and had nine assists and four steals.
Hawks: Cleveland’s 77 points were the most allowed by Atlanta in a first half this season. … G-F Mike Dunleavy, who missed his fourth straight game, has been diagnosed with right ankle synovitis. The Hawks say Dunleavy now will have an undetermined period of rest and rehabilitation. … Dennis Schroder had 17 points. Dwight Howard had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
HAWKS RETIRE PISTOL PETE’S 44
The Hawks retired “Pistol” Pete Maravich’s No. 44 at halftime. The number was unveiled in the Philips Arena rafters beside banners honoring numbers worn by Bob Pettit (9), Lou Hudson (23), Dominique Wilkins (21) and Dikembe Mutombo (55).
Maravich’s wife, Jackie, and son, Josh, spoke at the ceremony.
In honor of Maravich, who began his career in Atlanta from 1970-74, the team wore its early 1970s blue and green throwback uniform.
The Cavaliers atoned for a 110-106 home loss to Atlanta on Nov. 8. Cleveland improved to 12-1 against the Hawks, including the postseason, since the 2015 playoffs.
Cavaliers: At Miami on Saturday
Hawks: Host Indiana on Sunday
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- Kyle Korver
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- Paul Millsap
- Tim Hardaway Jr.