The Cleveland Cavaliers narrowly escaped defeat at home to the Atlanta Hawks winning 106–101 and the New Jersey Nets pulled off the upset against the New York Knicks 104–95 at the IZOD Center in Tuesday’s NBA action.
LeBron James led the Cavs with a season-high 48 points and 10 rebounds against the Hawks, more than tripling the next highest scorers on his team in Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao (each with 14).
After the Cavs outscored the Hawks by four in the third quarter, LeBron really opened it up in the fourth to lead a 29–16 Cavs surge.
The game went down to the wire. Varejao hit a 26-foot jumper from the left side off a Mo Williams assist with 17 seconds to go, which turned out to be the breaking point for the Hawks. That shot put the Cavs up by three and forced a timeout.
The Hawks had one more chance to get it back with a three-point shot from point guard Mike Bibby with five seconds to go, but Bibby missed and the Hawks were forced to foul Jamario Moon. Moon hit both free throws to end the game.
Wednesday was the second matchup between the two powerhouse teams this season in an instance of home-and-away play after Tuesday’s game at the Philips Arena in Atlanta.
The Hawks were eager to get revenge for Tuesday night’s 95–84 loss, and it showed. They had held LeBron to only 14 points in 20 shot attempts in that game. But they broke down in the fourth quarter and lost.
Guard-forward Joe Johnson and Bibby led the Hawks. Johnson closed the night with an impressive 35 points and Bibby drained 20.
Sixth man Jamal Crawford had 11 points in the second quarter to help cool the waters from a red-hot LeBron, who scored 16 points in the second quarter alone—more than in all of last night’s game.
But LeBron performed his magic after that with a season-high performance to cap off the Cavs’ second-consecutive win over the Hawks. It was a fitting way to celebrate his 25th birthday and the team’s sixth straight win.
The Cavs move to a 26–8 record to end the year and the Hawks close with a 21–10 record.
Knicks Fall to Nets
It was a major turn of events for the New Jersey Nets at the IZOD center on Wednesday night, with the NBA’s worst team ending their 10-game losing streak against a team they have already lost to three times this season.
What a way to end the year for the Nets (3–29) who have been plagued with injury. A win against their neighbors across the river is always sweet.
Things are looking brighter for the Nets in the new year with star forwards Chris Douglas-Roberts and Yi Jianlian back from injury.
Lucky No. 9 Yi had another great performance leading the Nets with 22 points, his third game of over 20 points since coming back from a prolonged injury just a week ago.
Douglas-Roberts scored 17 points, and center Brook Lopez rebounded with 21 points from his poor 10-point performance on Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Lopez also grabbed a whopping 14 rebounds for the night.
Big man David Lee led the Knicks (now 12–20) with 24 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists.