Irving, James on target as Cavaliers take 3-0 series lead

Love applauds Cavs' 'full team effort'

(Sports Xchange) - The 3-pointers keep falling and the Cleveland Cavaliers are sitting pretty.

The red-hot Cavs hit 21 more 3-pointers and Kyrie Irving and LeBron James took over in the fourth quarter, lifting Cleveland past the Atlanta Hawks 121-108 on Friday night at Philips Arena.

The Cavs lead the Eastern Conference playoff series 3-0. No NBA team has ever overcome a 0-3 deficit in a best-of-seven series.

Game 4 is Sunday in Atlanta.

Irving finished with 24 points, James had 24 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists and Channing Frye came off the bench to hit seven 3-pointers.

The Cavaliers made an NBA-record 25 3-pointers in their Game 2 rout of the Hawks. They flirted with that number again, shooting 53.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Atlanta's Al Horford finished with 24 points and Kyle Korver came off the bench to add 18 points, including five 3-pointers for the Hawks, who led 91-85 heading into the fourth quarter.

Irving and Frye each connected on two 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter and James made his only 3-pointer of the game with six minutes to play, giving Cleveland its first lead since the second quarter.

The Cavaliers pulled away from there and now find themselves in complete control.


Best NBA players of all time
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Irving, James on target as Cavaliers take 3-0 series lead

25. Scottie Pippen

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

24. Chris Paul

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

23. Jason Kidd

 (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

22. Kevin Durant

(Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)

21. Steve Nash

(Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)

20. Karl Malone

(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)

19. Kevin Garnett

(Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

18. Isiah Thomas

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

17. Charles Barkley

(Photo by Brian Drake/NBAE via Getty Images)

16. Dirk Nowitzki

 (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

15. Moses Malone

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/NBAE/Getty Images)

14. Jerry West

(Photo by Vernon Biever/NBAE via Getty Images)

13. Oscar Robertson

(Photo by Vernon Biever/NBAE via Getty Images)

12. Julius Erving

(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)

11. Kobe Bryant

 (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

10. Hakeem Olajuwon

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

9. Bill Russell 

(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)

8. Wilt Chamberlain

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

5. Larry Bird

(Photo by Tom Berg/WireImage)

4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)

3. LeBron James

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

2. Magic Johnson

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/ NBAE/ Getty Images)


In the other Eastern Conference semifinal, Toronto and Miami are tied 1-1 and appear to be headed for a tight series.

Western Conference favorites San Antonio and Golden State also are facing adversity, with Warriors star Stephen Curry trying to come back from a knee injury and the Spurs in a battle with Oklahoma City.

Game 3 had it all with highlight dunks, relentless effort, physicality and, of course, more 3-pointers.

Cleveland's Iman Shumpert threw down a one-handed dunk off a rebound in the first quarter. Later in the half, Horford topped Shumpert's jam with a one-hander over the top of Kevin Love.

Love responded with a big game, finishing with 21 points and 14 rebounds.

Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer tried an array of adjustments, starting defensive-minded Thabo Sefolosha in place of Korver and mixing in reserve forward Kris Humphries in the rotation early in the game.

Budenholzer also had the Hawks intentionally foul Cleveland's Tristan Thompson, a 61 percent foul shooter, frequently. The tricks helped Atlanta take control in the first half.

Atlanta closed the second quarter on a 20-5 run and led 63-55 at halftime. Korver, who came off the bench for the first time since the 2012-2013 season, hit four 3-pointers in the second quarter and the Hawks went 8 of 9 from behind the 3-point arc in the second quarter.

Cleveland outrebounded Atlanta 55-28.

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