The season is becoming more and more depressing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, even when Kyrie Irving explodes for 40 points. The Atlanta Hawks had just about enough to weather the strom, and rely on Jeff Teague in an excellent game as well to knock down a game winning shot to finally end the two overtime marathon.
It seems like the Cavs find new ways to lose games each time. They had a three point lead before Jeff Teague knocked down a three to send the game into the first overtime (108-108), and despite 12 points from Kyrie Irving in the second overtime, fell to 10-18. The officials might have made some calls that would have been fair with the Cavs, but when it comes down to the bottom line, this team doesn’t know how to finish games and put them to rest, this time losing 127-125.
Jeff Teague had, statistically at least, his biggest game ever, even without considering the two clutch shots that saved and then later won the game. He scored a career-high 34 points on 14-of-24 shooting, adding 14 assists. The bigger thing (and also the problematic thing for the Hawks) are the injuries to DeMarre Carroll and Al Horford, leaving the game and causing plenty of concern. Horford left during the first overtime with what seems like a bruised shoulder but could be far worse, while Carroll was hurt earlier, jamming his right hand into Tyler Zeller and leaving in the fourth quarter.
Al Horford had a big game with 25 points and 8 rebounds before he left, highlighting the disappointing play of the Cavs’ center. Andrew Bynum has been up and down (mostly down) this season, playing only 18 minutes and not returning after the third quarter, scoring only 4 points. Anderson Varejao had 35 minutes off the bench with 8 points and 17 rebounds, but the Cavs needed a bit more from their inside players, while Thompson (22 points) and his and Irving’s nemesis, Dion Waiters, added 20 points off the bench.
For the Hawks, besides Horford and Teagje, Paul Millsap finished with a 20-11 double double and Kyle Korver hit four 3-points to finish with 20 points.
The Hawks remain the only non-really good team with a above .500 record in the Eastern conference, but that isn’t going to last for long if both Horford and Carroll, who might not do much in terms of scoring but provides some great defense on most nights no matter who he’s up against, are both out for a significant time.
For now, the Hawks might not look like a team that’s going to win titles or go very far in the playoffs, but in the talent depleted East they are one of the more enjoyable teams to watch, mostly thanks to Jeff Teague raising himself a bit further in the point guard scale, showing what a great decision it was to keep him instead of signing Brandon Jennings.
It was nice for this amazing game to finally be over. Obviously, Jeff Teague made a lot of plays throughout the game and in the overtimes. I’m proud of him. A lot of guys made some plays. I think we’re growing as a team, so that’s a positive step.