Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Instant Reaction: Atlanta Hawks 127, Cleveland Cavaliers 125

Final Outcome 

In yet another wildly entertaining Cavaliers game, the Wine & Gold took the Atlanta Hawks to the brink, battling all game and overcoming awful officiating to make the game seem as if it was a victory for Cleveland waiting to happen. But the Atlanta Hawks – without Al Horford, who left the game with injury, mind you – kept battling and ultimately won the game in the second overtime, when Jeff Teague hit a 20-foot shot with no time left on the clock. The Hawks ultimately won by a score of 127-125. Kyrie Irving lead the Cavaliers 40 points, while Teague lead the Hawks with 34.

Key Play to the Game

While at the Q with my Dad, I was all set to write about Matthew Dellavedova’s back-to-back pairs of free throws in the first overtime that looked as if they would seal a game. There were other points were I expected to write about a play Kyrie Irving made or perhaps one of Tristan Thompson’s key offensive rebounds. But then this happened.

Wine & Gold MVP

Kyrie Irving gets the nod here and he was one of several Cavaliers who played well against the Hawks. But I’m picking Irving here for one specific reason: He doesn’t deserve any of the nitpicking and criticism he took on Twitter after the game. Irving scored 40 points on 33 shots, which is far more efficient than one would expect it to be. He shot over 50 percent from the field, played alright on defense and dished out nine assists. If you want to pick at him taking too many at the shots at the end, ask yourself who else you would want on the floor. All in all, as Irving g

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Coach Brown Breakdown

Brown did a solid job tonight against the Hawks. There were some interesting decisions – namely running three-guard lineups almost exclusively down the stretch – but those were decisions that helped the Cavaliers play up the level of the Atlanta. One thing Brown did that I especially liked was that he went away from Andrew Bynum early when he proved to be detrimental to the Cavaliers overall flow. From there, he also played Tyler Zeller, who was energetic in his 11 minutes. He did the right thing there, and for the most part,  Brown coached his butt off tonight.

Up Next

In an oddity of sorts, the Cavaliers will take on the Boston Celtics on Saturday and, like the Hawks, the C’s beat down the Cavaliers in the first matchup of the season. Also odd: tip-off is at 1 PM from Boston. The Celtics will have been off since December 22nd when the 28th comes around, meaning they will either be well rested or rusty when these two teams matchup.

Next Cavaliers Game Full schedule »
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