Hawks send Cavs to largest loss of season
It was Atlantas 11th win in 12 games
THE CAVALIERS' largest loss of the season didn't sit well with coach David Blatt.
"That was embarrassing, how we played," he said after the visiting Atlanta Hawks routed Cleveland, 127-98, last night. "I apologize to all the good fans who came out here. Really, just a poor, poor performance."
Shelvin Mack scored a career-high 24 points and the Hawks won for the 11th time in 12 games.
Mack, a reserve guard who came in averaging 3.8 points, made all six of his three-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. The Hawks, playing without leading scorer Jeff Teague, avenged a 127-94 defeat in Cleveland on Nov. 15.
"We got blown out the first game, like blown all the way out," Mack said. "That wasn't a great feeling. We wanted to come back and see what we're made of."
LeBron James scored 21 points but didn't play in the fourth quarter, which began with Atlanta leading, 95-75.
While Blatt said he didn't see any fight in his team, James didn't find the loss embarrassing, but said the team had a setback defensively. The four-time MVP took an analytical approach to the defeat, Cleveland's third in four games since winning eight straight.
"We allowed them to get too many open looks," he said. "This is a well-coached team that we played. It reminds you of playing San Antonio, that system. They move the ball and get you in uncomfortable positions."
Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer, a longtime Spurs assistant before taking over the Hawks last season, was understandably pleased with the performance.
"It's a great team win," he said. "You go up and down the roster, different guys contributing at different times. That's what we're trying to build, is a team."
In other games
* At San Antonio, Marc Gasol scored 26 points and Zach Randolph added 21 points and 21 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies prevailed over the Spurs, 117-116, in triple-overtime. It was Memphis' sixth straight win.
* At Miami, Gordon Hayward scored 29 points, Enes Kanter added 18 and the Utah Jazz overcame 42 points from Dwyane Wade to beat the Heat, 105-87. Wade shot 12-for-19 for Miami, which has lost seven of its last eight home games and has dropped four straight on its floor for the first time since 2011.
* At Charlotte, reserve Isaiah Thomas scored 23 points, Goran Dragic had 20 and the Phoenix Suns snapped a six-game losing streak with a 111-106 victory over the struggling Hornets.
* At Auburn Hills, Mich., Chandler Parsons scored a season-high 32 points and Monta Ellis added 25 as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Detroit Pistons, 117-106.
* At Boston, Rajon Rondo had 13 points, 15 assists and seven rebounds to lead balanced scoring that carried the Celtics to a 109-92 win over Orlando.
* At Toronto, Kyle Lowry had 20 points and 12 assists, Jonas Valanciunas added 16 points and 10 rebounds, and the Raptors used a big fourth quarter to beat the Brooklyn Nets, 105-89.