CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Cavaliers took a 1-0 lead over the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals with a win Monday night at Quicken Loans Arena. Tony Zarrella provides five things to watch in Game 2 of the series Wednesday night.
LeBron Logging the Minutes
He wasn't on the bench long, but while he was there the Hawks made their late third quarter/early fourth quarter run. And then LeBron returned and swung the momentum back to the Cavaliers, delivering the final dagger himself with a 3-point play with two minutes left. LeBron had a lot of help down the stretch, but nobody's logging more minutes than him. In Game One, he topped 40 minutes (the only other player to top 40 was Tristan Thompson). And his heavy workload will continue. As head coach Ty Lue said, that's why LeBron rested at times during the regular season. So he can rack up the minutes now.
Walk the Line
Or, at least get there once in a while, to shoot free throws. LeBron made it to the free throw line only once in Game One, an incredible and revealing stat that proves there's at least one superstar in the NBA who doesn't get the calls. Consider what took place midway through the fourth quarter.
LeBron, driving to the basket, was absolutely leveled by Paul Millsap. No call.
Overall, both the Cavs and Hawks attempted 21 free throws, but considering LeBron's doing most of his work inside, and led every player on the court with 21 field goal attempts on Monday, it's ridiculous that he isn't at the line far more often.
Kevin Love laughed off the question about his right shoulder after he collided with Kent Bazemore late in Game One, and says he's fine, but his jumper seems to be hurting. He hit an offensive drought toward the end of the Pistons series, and opened this series slowly, with only 2 points in the first quarter on Monday, 4 points in the fourth quarter, and 17 overall. Love's still making plays, pulling down 11 rebounds, but they need his 3-point shot to heat up again.
Dennis the Menace
Nobody could have predicted Dennis Schroder's 27-point performance in Game One. The Hawks guard averaged 11 points per game in the regular season, and more than that, isn't exactly known for his 3-point prowess. Yet on Monday night he came off the bench and single-handedly rallied the Hawks, throwing down a game-high 27, including five 3-pointers. So how do the Cavs handle him on Wednesday? They're not worried about it. As Matthew Dellavedova told us on Tuesday, they can't guard everybody. And the Cavaliers were very efficient in shutting down the Hawks' stars, including...
A year ago, the Cavs took the 3-point specialist out of the playoffs in Game Two when Delly accidentally rolled onto Korver's ankle. On Monday, they took him out again, on the stat sheet. J.R. Smith stifled Korver, playing relentless defense, fighting through screens and holding him to 0 field goals, only 1 shot, and 3 points overall (from the free-throw line). That was a game-changer for both teams. J.R. told us after the game he was just trying to "stay locked in". Mission accomplished.
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