Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/28/12
CLEVELAND -- The Cavaliers were gunning for their first three-game winning streak since last March. However, the Atlanta Hawks had other ideas. Swingman Kyle Korver buried a key 3-pointer with 1:21 remaining, and the Hawks held off the Cavs, 102-94, on Friday at Quicken Loans Arena. The Hawks (18-9) ended the game by scoring nine unanswered points. The Cavs led by one, 94-93, before Atlanta closed out the game. The Cavs' exciting backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters outscored their Hawks' counterparts, 46-43. Irving led the way with a game-high 28 points, six rebounds and five assists. He made 12 of 20 shots from the field, 4 of 7 from the 3-point line. It was the Hawks, though, that had the last laugh. Guard Jeff Teague had a team-high 27 points and a game-high eight assists. Atlanta, the top road team in the Eastern Conference at 8-4, also got 16 points from Lou Williams and 14 points and 11 rebounds from center Al Horford. The Hawks shot 48.7 percent from the field, compared to 41.9 percent for the Cavs (7-24). Waiters added 18 points, six rebounds and four assists. The Hawks outrebounded the Cavs, 43-40, in winning their past four games at The Q. The Cavs opened up a five-point lead after three quarters, 80-75. They outscored the Hawks in the third, 26-20. Cavs center Tyler Zeller was just heating up in the third quarter when he picked up his fourth personal foul and was forced to the bench with about three minutes remaining. The 7-footer drained four consecutive jump shots before heading to the bench. The Cavs were thin up front with Anderson Varejao sitting out his fifth consecutive game with a bruised right knee and reserve big man Samardo Samuels being sent to the Development League. Zeller ended with 12 points and seven rebounds. Power forward Tristan Thompson finished with eight points and eight rebounds for Cleveland. He had a streak of four consecutive double-doubles snapped. Irving buried a 40-foot, 3-point bomb at the first-half buzzer. It capped a 15-5 run to close the second quarter. The Hawks had a one-point advantage heading into halftime, 55-54. Irving had 15 points and three assists in the first half, while guard Waiters had a team-high 16 points and three rebounds. The Cavs shot 47.7 percent from the field in the first half, compared to 52.4 percent by the Hawks. Valuable shooting guard Daniel Gibson was knocked out of the game with a head injury with 6:54 left in the second quarter. The Cavs had a one-point lead after one quarter, 26-25, as Waiters fired in nine points. Teague matched Waiters' point total and dished out two assists for the Hawks. NOTES: At 399 career wins, Cavs coach Byron Scott is one victory away from becoming the eighth active coach with 400 or more wins. Those ranked ahead of him are George Karl, Rick Adelman, Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers, Rick Carlisle, Scott Skiles and Doug Collins. ... Irving is on the cover of ESPN the Magazine's "20 players who define the future of sports," that hit the newsstand Friday. ... Varejao will miss Saturday's game at Brooklyn, and possibly more. "Every day I can do more and more with my knee," he said. "I'm pretty confident I'll be back soon. I want to be back tomorrow, but I know it's not possible. But, hopefully - a week - another week. That would be perfect for me." He said his bruised right knee is sore and lacks mobility. "The only thing that really hurts is when I try to bend (it) or push off," Varejao said. "That's when I get the sharp pain. Overall, it's fine to walk around and do basic stuff." Byron Scott said Varejao won't play until he's healthy. "We want him to be close to 100 percent as possible before he steps back out on that court," he said. "The spot he got hit is tender. I'm not concerned." ... Varejao was upset he couldn't play on "Wild Thing Wig Night." "It's really sad I can't play on my day," he said. "I wish I could play tonight, but I know the fans are excited and I'm very excited. I can't wait to see how it's going to be tonight." ... In the perfect world, Scott would like to see newly acquired point guard Shaun Livingston practice before he gets in a game. However, Scott probably wants to get a look at him in a game situation. He was claimed on waivers on Tuesday. Livingston, 27, had a terrible knee injury in 2007 when he tore his ACL and MCL, among other things. "I tried to remain positive," he said. "I had a good supporting cast. There was a lot of prayer. I had tons of doubt." He said he never watched the gruesome video. ... On a night they already knew they wouldn't have Varejao, the Cavs assigned power forward Samardo Samuels to the Canton Charge. The 6-foot-9, 246-pound Samuels has played in 18 games (one start) this season for the Cavs. He's averaging 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds. ... Scott was surprised by the firing of Nets coach Avery Johnson this week. "I know him well," Scott said. "He's a very good friend of mine. I'm disappointed. This is a business. Twenty-some games are not a whole lot of games. When you have a bunch of new guys, it's going to take some time. It's the NBA." ... The Hawks were playing without three key performers on Friday, forward Ivan Johnson (stomach illness), guard Devin Harris (sore left foot) and swingman DeShawn Stevenson (knees). ... The Hawks' backcourt of Teague and Williams has to be the quickest in the league. "It gives us speed and the ability to go faster," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "When it's time to run, it'll be time to get out and fly." ... Varejao is one game away from moving into 10th place in games played. Phil Hubbard is 10th with 469.
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