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 Russell WESTBROOK
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 Hassan WHITESIDE
  Miami Heat
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  Houston R.
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 Draymond GREEN
  Golden S.
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 Rudy GOBERT
  Utah Jazz
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Cavs blow 26-point lead in fourth, lose 126-125 to Hawks in overtime - Apr 10, 2017


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Paul Millsap
The losses are growing ghastlier by the day for the Cavaliers, who blew an unfathomable 26-point lead in the fourth quarter Sunday afternoon and lost to the Atlanta Hawks in overtime, 126-125. The Cavs are now tied with the Boston Celtics for first place in the East with two games to play. Cleveland is in action again Monday night in Miami; how the Cavs could possibly recover from this abomination and win that game is anyone's guess. "It was a tough loss right here," said LeBron James (6'8''-SF-84), who finished with a triple-double but fouled out in overtime. "We got two games left but I don't know the situation about tomorrow. I'm still kind of calibrating this one." On Friday, the Cavs' regulars were blown out at home by a Hawks team resting all five of its starters. This, in many, many ways, was worse, because the Cavs were trying. The Hawks are the third team in NBA history to come from 26-points down in the fourth quarter and win. "You never want to be in a situation like this but you can always be worse," said Cavs guard Kyrie Irving (6'3''-G-92, college: Duke), who scored a game high 45 points to go with nine assists. "For us, we've just got to think about what's ahead and move onto the next game." James reached his latest triple-double in regulation and finished with 32 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists. He fouled out with 1:52 left in overtime on a loose-ball foul called on the offensive end. James played a ghastly total 47 minutes, a crime considering the Cavs led by 26 through three quarters. Paul Millsap (6'8''-F-85, college: Louisiana Tech) was a late addition to the starting lineup for the Hawks and scored 14 of his team-high 22 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Cleveland's Kevin Love (6'10''-PF-88, college: UCLA) scored 11 points to go with 15 rebounds in 43 minutes. He shot 4-of-14. The Cavs led in overtime by as many as five points and were still up three when James fouled out. With 25.1 seconds left and Cleveland trailing by a point, Love threw the ball away on an inbounds pass; Kent Bazemore (6'5''-G/F-89, college: ODU) stole the ball and laid it in with 21.9 seconds to go for a 123-120 advantage. Irving was called for a charge on the next possession. The Cavs held a 26-point lead and completely blew it. The Hawks opened the period on a 9-0 spurt and Cleveland never really regained its footing. James failed to get the ball in bounds with 18.7 seconds left, and later fouled Millsap on a 3-point attempt. And then after Bazemore tied Irving up for a jump ball with 4.9 seconds to go on a play in which appeared both Bazemore and Millsap (who was also tying up Irving) had a foot out of bounds. But the call was missed. Millsap buried a jumper at the buzzer to send the game to overtime. "How much is the fine for talking about the refs? It's like 50 (thousand dollars), 25 (thousand? Not worth it," Irving said. "I had some good conversation with the refs. Just a few plays that didn't go our way. That's not the, the kind of the first step that led to the breakdown of what happened in that fourth quarter, and why it extended the game." Neither Mike Dunleavy nor Mike Muscala had scored for Atlanta through three periods. Muscala ran up nine points during the comeback and Dunleavy added seven. Millsap scored nine.As it stands, Cleveland has a bench that either can't or shouldn't be trusted. Kyle Korver was OK, with 11 points in 28 minutes. Richard Jefferson did not score in 18 minutes. Iman Shumpert scored two and Deron Williams (6'3''-PG-84, college: Illinois) added a 3-pointer, and that's it.The Hawks had eight players log at least 20 minutes. The Cavs had six -- their five starters and Korver. "Everything is magnified once they come back like that," coach Tyronn Lue said. "I thought maybe our guys could've got tired because we didn't push the ball in the fourth quarter. We got stops and we just walked the ball up the floor and that put us in one-on-one situations. We took some bad shots. We didn't keep playing with the same intensity, the same pace offensively once we did get stops. "I don't know if guys were tired at that point because they played a lot of minutes." It was James' career-high 13th triple-double this season and 55th for his career during the regular season. He needs four more to catch Larry Bird for sixth place all-time in triple-doubles. James entered play shooting .548 this season; he is on pace to become the first player in NBA history to average at least 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists while shooting .540 or better from the field. The Cavs led 38-21 at the end of the first quarter. They were 7-of-13 from 13-point range. It was 65-46 at halftime and 93-67 after three quarters. And then the meltdown began.
Courtesy of: cleveland.com   




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