Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap lead Atlanta Hawks past Cleveland Cavaliers, 109-101


The Atlanta Hawks continued their winning ways Tuesday night as they rallied past the Cleveland Cavaliers by a final score of 109-101. The one-two punch of Hawks stars Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap proved to be too much, even without Al Horford, for a Cleveland lineup that had no LeBron James and an early exit by Kevin Love.

After a slow start, Atlanta used ball movement and points in the paint to take a 26-25 lead at the end of the first quarter. Hawks point guard Jeff Teague scored 9 points along with 3 assists, while Pero Antic had 5 points down low. Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving started strong with 10 points of his own as the Cavs took the court without LeBron James.

The second quarter would see the momentum go back and forth with several lead changes. Atlanta showed why they are second in the NBA in assists, as they produced 11 in the first half. The ball movement, along with 6 steals, allowed the Hawks to capitalize off of turnovers. Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll was big down low with 5 defensive boards, only to be outdone by Cleveland’s Kevin Love, who had 10 rebounds. That was not enough to keep Atlanta stretching the lead to 10 to end the half 51-41.

Atlanta would carry the momentum over to the second half as Paul Millsap came alive on the boards and driving the lane against a weak Cleveland defense. However, Kyrie Irving would keep the Cavs in the game with clutch shots and fast break points as Cleveland scored 32 points in the third quarter. Still, the Hawks bench would be strong yet again with Mike Scott scoring 10 points and Elton Brand playing physical defense.

The fourth quarter was the opportunity for Atlanta to put Cleveland away as they have done many opponents this season. Kyle Korver would do his part finishing with 19 points and 8 rebounds. Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap would step up big time with a combined 49 points. Even though the Cavs kept fighting and with Irving scoring 35 points, Atlanta would put the game to rest 109-101.

The Atlanta Hawks wrap up a great December, as they have won 18 of their last 21 games. The Hawks remain in second place in the Eastern Conference standings, but will invade the west coast later this week. Their first stop will be Friday night in Utah as the Jazz will look to stop Atlanta’s red hot momentum.