James, Cavs crush injury-riddled Hawks in Game 2

The Sports Network
5/8/2009 2:16:52 AM
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Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - LeBron James revved into MVP form again, pouring in 27 points before resting in the fourth quarter, as the Cavaliers continued to roll in the postseason with a 105-85 blowout of the injury- riddled Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The top-seeded Cavaliers, who swept Detroit in the first round, have won each game in the playoffs by at least 11 points. The average margin of victory for the six contests stands at 18.

"We're just a really good team," said James. "We're not overconfident, but we believe in our game plan, we believe in each other as individuals and we believe in each other as a team. We just go out and play hard."

After winning, 99-72, in the opener on Tuesday, the Cavs surged to a 59-35 lead at the half of Game 2 with James finishing the second quarter with a show-stopping shot from near half-court.

"It was demoralizing a lot just because of where I shot the ball from," said James. "We carried that momentum into the second half."

Wally Szczerbiak added 17 points, Mo Williams 15 and Delonte West 14 for the Cavs, who led by as many as 36 before coasting to the victory. West was poked in the right eye midway through the third quarter and didn't return. James said West was fine in the locker room after the game and should be ready for the next game.

Already without forwards Al Horford and Marvin Williams due to injuries, the Hawks lost guard Joe Johnson with a severely sprained right ankle in the third quarter.

Johnson, who came into the game averaging 16.4 points in the playoffs, went up for a shot with nearly 3 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. While being defended by James, Johnson landed awkwardly on his ankle, went to the locker room and later was put in a wheelchair to get x-rays, which were negative.

It's not likely Johnson will play in Game 3, which is Saturday night in Atlanta.

"I just have to get our main group, hopefully back out on the floor Saturday and see what we're made of," said Hawks coach Mike Woodson. "When you're missing pieces it's tough, but again I'm not one to complain. I've got to push the guys who are in uniform and try to get them to play hard, and hopefully something will swing our way."

After the game, Cavs coach Mike Brown was asked if feels for Woodson because of the injuries.

"Mike Woodson's a nice guy. Maybe sometime we'll see each other in the summertime and we may have a bite to eat, but he has to take care of his own problems," said Brown.

Horford, dealing with an ankle injury, played over 25 minutes in the series opener on Tuesday, but sat out Game 2. Williams was sidelined with a sprained right wrist.

Maurice Evans had 16 points to lead the Hawks, who shot a woeful 34.9 percent from the field.

The Hawks were within 16-14 with over four minutes left in the opening quarter, but the Cavs finished the period on a 10-3 spurt. James had six of those points, finishing the quarter with a bucket, while the second stanza was one of pure dominance for the Cavs.

Cleveland went 13-of-18 from the field in the second, compared to 5-of-17 for the Hawks, as the hosts opened a monstrous advantage.

Szczerbiak drained a three-pointer to expand the lead to 40-22, but later Mike Bibby made a pair of shots from beyond the arc to get Atlanta within 43-28 with nearly four minutes left.

The Cavs then surged to conclude the half with James raising up from inside half-court and sinking the 36-foot shot.

A dunk by Zydrunas Ilgauskas gave Cleveland its largest lead at 83-47 with under two minutes left in the third. With an 85-55 lead moving to the fourth, James was given the remainder of the night off.

Atlanta closed the gap to 95-80 with 2 1/2 minutes remaining.

Game Notes

The Cavs have won their last seven postseason home games...Thursday marked the 20th anniversary of Michael Jordan's winning shot over Craig Ehlo when the Bulls beat the Cavs in the deciding Game 5 in the first round of the playoffs...Anderson Varejao had 12 points for the Cavs...Thomas Gardner scored 12, Bibby 11 and Johnson 10 for the Hawks, whose Josh Smith went 2-for-13 from the floor for eight points...Zaza Pachulia had 12 rebounds for Atlanta... Cleveland's Tarence Kinsey left midway through the fourth quarter with a sprained right ankle.

LeBron James (Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)


(Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
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