Mack leads surging Hawks to blowout in Cleveland
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Shelvin Mack scored a career-high 24 points and the Atlanta Hawks routed the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-98 Wednesday night for their 11th victory in 12 games.
Mack, a reserve guard who came in averaging 3.8 points, made all six of his 3-pointers as the Hawks went 16 for 28 from behind the arc.
Trailing 50-38 midway through the second quarter, Atlanta outscored Cleveland 89-48 the rest of the way and sent the Cavaliers to their largest loss of the season.
The Hawks, playing without leading scorer Jeff Teague, avenged a 127-94 loss in Cleveland on Nov. 15, when the Cavaliers were 9 for 9 on 3s in the first quarter and made their first 11 from beyond the arc.
LeBron James scored 21 points but didn't play in the fourth quarter. Dion Waiters also had 21 for the Cavaliers, who have lost three of four since winning eight straight.
Al Horford scored 20 points and Mike Scott added 15 for Atlanta, which had seven players in double figures and shot 64.5 percent from the field.
The Hawks went 24 for 35 in the first half and continued to slice up Cleveland's defense in the third quarter. Paul Millsap's jumper put them ahead 79-68 at the 6:51 mark, and the lead never got under double digits.
Atlanta went 9 of 11 on 3s in the second quarter to erase a 12-point deficit and lead 65-60 at halftime.
Mack made all five of his 3-point attempts and scored 17 in the quarter. Scott's 3-pointer from two steps behind the arc at the buzzer capped the sequence.
Kevin Love, who missed the morning shootaround because of flu-like symptoms, scored 13 points and had 10 rebounds for Cleveland.
The game began much like the team's matchup in November. The Cavaliers put on an impressive offensive display in the first quarter. Cleveland hit 12 of 19 shots with 10 assists as the Hawks had no answer for the Cavaliers' ball movement.
As they did in Monday's win over Charlotte, Love and James hooked up on two highlight-reel plays. Love hit James with two length-of-the-court passes that resulted in layups for the four-time MVP.
James then displayed his passing skills. He returned the favor to Love with a behind-the-back pass, after which the power forward drilled a 3-pointer. On Cleveland's last possession, James faked past Thabo Sefolosha, drove into the lane and passed to Matthew Dellavedova, who hit a 3-pointer. Sefolosha fell to the court trying to stay in front of James.
Hawks: Dennis Schroder started at point guard in place of Teague, who leads the team in points (16.8) and assists (7.0). ... The game began a tough road stretch for Atlanta. After playing at Houston on Saturday, the Hawks face Dallas on Monday. The three opponents went into Wednesday with a combined record of 50-22.
Cavaliers: G Kyrie Irving had nine points and six assists. . G Mike Miller, who sustained a concussion on Dec. 4, missed his seventh straight game. Coach David Blatt said Miller still has some stiffness in his neck area, and decided to hold him out one more game as a precaution.
Hawks: At Houston on Saturday.
Cavaliers: Host Brooklyn on Friday.