Millsap, Hardaway lead Hawks in stunning OT win over Cavs


THE Atlanta Hawks wasted an early double-digit lead but recovered to defeat the Cavaliers, 114-100, on Friday in Cleveland (Saturday, Manila time).

James scored 27 points to go with eight rebounds and seven assists for the Cavs, whose lead over the Boston Celtics for first in the Eastern Conference is 1.0 games with three to play.

Irving scored a game-high 45 points for Cleveland while James finished with a triple-double of 32 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. They outscored Cleveland 44-18 in the fourth quarter, tying the game at 111.

With the win, Atlanta takes the season series from the Cavaliers and moves a step closer to nailing down the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.

In the last three meeting between Cavaliers vs Hawks in this National Basketball Association season, the Cavs have won only one match.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer elected to sit four starters when they traveled to Cleveland the following night.

Although they had all but one of those absentees back on Sunday, the Cavaliers appeared to be rolling toward a payback victory until the fourth quarter.

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DeMar DeRozan scored 35 points to lead the Toronto Raptors past the New York Knicks 110-97, while the Detroit Pistons were too good for the Memphis Grizzlies 103-90. They made 7-of-13 three-point attempts in the quarter and got 15 points from Kyrie Irving. The Cavs began the game ranked second in the league in treys made and third in 3-point percentage. 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.

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But the Hawks would mount a furious comeback, erasing the seemingly insurmountable deficit en route to a 126-125 overtime victory at Philips Arena. Furthermore, the Hawks had a back-to-back against Charlotte and IN to close the season. The first came with 42.1 seconds left, when Kevin Love was initially called for a charge on Mike Dunleavy that would have been Love's sixth foul and forced him out of the game.

Wizards over Celtics (conference record against playoff teams): Teams rarely have to go through four or five tiebreakers to settle a tie, but that's exactly what could happen if these two ended up neck and neck at the end of the regular season.

"Those games will get a whole bigger meaning at the end of the season with home-court advantage [on the line] which is what we are trying to accomplish here", Ilyasova added. The club announced after the game that it became the third team to overcome a deficit of at least 26 points in the fourth quarter and win.

Neither of Boston's final two games will be easy.

Waived DeAndre Liggins to create an open roster spot in case C Tristan Thompson is sidelined for the playoffs with a sprained right thumb. Now, Cleveland's lead in the East is down to one game over Boston with three to play.