The Hawks came into Friday night’s home contest against the Cavaliers riding a six-game winning streak, although a closer look at the teams they played during that stretch would reveal that it really wasn’t one that was terribly impressive.
Atlanta recorded maybe one quality win in those six games, which came against the Clippers. But the others were over Sacramento, Orlando, Washington, and Charlotte (twice).
So then, you might understand the Hawks’ false sense of security as they took the floor against the Cavaliers. Undermanned from a talent standpoint on most nights, this Cleveland team plays extremely hard under Byron Scott, and will gain confidence if you don’t exert the necessary effort early enough to keep them at bay.
Atlanta thought it had this one under control, as it took a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter. But Cleveland was able to put together a 10-0 run midway through the final period to make it a game, and then were fortunate enough to have someone in the right place at the right time to seal it.
Dion Waiters was isolated at the top of the three-point arc against DeShawn Stevenson, with the game tied at 111 with 12 seconds remaining. But instead of driving to the basket to create, Waiters launched a three that wasn’t close, just glancing off the left side of the iron. The rebound fell into the hands of Alonzo Gee, who went back up with a reverse layup to win it with four tenths of a second to play.
That was hardly the plan, as Byron Scott joked about afterward. From Jason lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal:
BScott said players were hammering Waiters afterwards for jacking the 3, but Waiters insisted it was right shot.
“I wouldn’t take the shot back at all,” Waiters said. “If I had a chance to do it again, I’d take the same shot…maybe get a little bit closer.”
Then he laughed.
Scott told the players in the huddle to get the ball to Waiters and clear out.
“I guess I have to be a little more specific and say try to get to the basket,” Scott joked. “I thought it was a perfect matchup for us. Then (Waiters) bailed him out by shooting a 3 that didn’t touch nothing. Luckily Zo was there to rebound the ball and put it in.”
It’s all fun and games when you get the win — even if it’s just the fourth in 16 tries on the season for these Cavaliers.