Mon | Apr 24, 2017

James, Smith star for Cavs

Published:Friday | May 22, 2015 | 5:00 AM
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) shoots against Atlanta Hawks’ Mike Muscala (31) and Jeff Teague (right) during the first half in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals in Atlanta on Wednesday. Conference finals in Atlanta on Wednesday.

ATLANTA (AP):

Cleveland's LeBron James, complemented by a sharp-shooting J.R. Smith, led the Cavaliers to a valuable road victory in the opening game of the NBA Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday, beating Atlanta 97-89.

While James led Cleveland with 31 points, it was Smith who ignited the Cavaliers, making eight 3-pointers and scoring 28 points.

Intent on bringing Cleveland to their first NBA title, James sealed the victory with a soaring dunk in the final minute.

For the Hawks, it was the second straight series in which they've lost the opening game at home. Cleveland will look to take command of the series in Game 2 tonight.

Making matters worse for Atlanta, DeMarre Carroll went down with a knee injury with 4:59 remaining. Besides being the main defender on James, Carroll had been the Hawks' leading scorer in the play-offs. He was averaging more than 17 points coming into Atlanta's first conference final.

Jeff Teague led Atlanta with 27 points. But Atlanta didn't produce its usual balanced scoring, as two starters - Kyle Korver and Carroll - failed to reach double figures.