Sun | Apr 30, 2017

LeBron's triple-double helps Cavs top Hawks in thriller

Published:Tuesday | May 26, 2015 | 5:00 AM
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) goes up for a shot against Atlanta Hawks' Mike Muscala during the second half in Game Three of the Eastern Conference finals of the NBA basketball playoffs on Sunday in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND (AP):

LeBron James shook off an atrocious shooting start and withstood Atlanta's gritty comeback to record a triple-double, as the Cleveland Cavaliers moved within one win of the NBA Finals by beating the Hawks 114-111 in overtime on Sunday to take a 3-0 series lead.

James missed his first 10 shots, but finished with 37 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists. The Cavs needed every single one of them to hold off the top-seeded Hawks, who fought Cleveland until the final seconds, despite being without injured shooter Kyle Korver and losing Al Horford, who was ejected in the first half.

James hit a three-pointer with 36.4 seconds left to put the Cavs ahead by one, and the superstar dropped a runner with 12.8 left to make it 114-111.

"He just wouldn't let us lose," coach David Blatt said.

Atlanta had two chances to tie it in the final seconds, but Shelvin Mack missed two three-pointers.

When the final horn sounded, an exhausted James, who was favouring his right leg for most of overtime, dropped to the floor and had to be helped to his feet.

"I worked extremely hard, and for me as a leader, no matter how I'm feeling, I've got to try to make some plays," James said.

scratched and clawed

He'll have just one day to rest up before the Cavs try to earn their second Finals trip - and the fifth in a row for James - in Game Four tonight.

Jeff Teague scored 30 points and Paul Millsap 22 for the Hawks, who scratched and clawed for 53 minutes.

Down 10 in the fourth, the Hawks showed championship toughness and nearly pulled off a win that would have guaranteed them another home game on Thursday. They'll have to dig deep again, and they are facing long odds to win the series, as no NBA team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit.