Cavs take 2-0 series lead
Cleveland's LeBron James scored 30 points as the Cavaliers won 94-82 in Atlanta on Friday even without injured star Kyrie Irving, taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.
The Cavaliers pulled away with a dominant third quarter. James scored 11 points, the Hawks shot just 32 per cent (7 of 22), and Cleveland led by as many as 20.
This was a blowout in every sense. The final margin, with backup players on the court, was as close as Hawks had been since midway through the third.
"You really can't make me do what I don't want to do," James said. "I play the right way."
ailing left knee
Irving was scratched before the game because of an ailing left knee. Even so, the Cavaliers cruised to their second straight win in Atlanta, and took the 2-0 advantage back with them to Cleveland, where they will host the next two games starting today.
James assumed many of the ball-handling duties, taking advantage of Atlanta's DeMarre Carroll being at less than 100 per cent.
Carroll started after being carried off the court just two nights earlier, but he hardly looked like the "Junkyard Dog".
He wasn't the only one struggling. The Hawks were totally outclassed for one of the few times all season.
"In the play-offs, it takes more," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. "It takes better execution, better screening. You've got to do things harder."
The Cavaliers, who have never won a championship, made a big investment in the off season to lure back James after a spell in Miami to play alongside Irving and Kevin Love.
But James is carrying the load with Irving sidelined and Love out with a season-ending injury.