- LeBron James dropped to his knees and slapped the
floor with his hand.
was exhausted and exhilarated - and one win from the
gave everything I have," James said.
shook off an atrocious shooting start, withstood
Atlanta's gritty comeback and battled cramps and
injuries to record a triple-double, and the Cleveland
Cavaliers took a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference
finals with a 114-111 overtime victory on Sunday
missed his first 10 shots, but finished with 37
points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists. The Cavs needed
every single one of them to hold off the top-seeded
Hawks, who fought Cleveland until the final seconds
despite being without injured shooter Kyle Korver and
losing Al Horford, who was ejected in the first half.
who favored his right leg for most of the fourth
quarter and asked to come out of the game in OT before
re-considering, hit a 3-pointer with 36.4 seconds left
to put the Cavs ahead by one, and the superstar
dropped a runner with 12.8 left to make it 114-111.
just wouldn't let us lose," coach David Blatt
had two chances to tie it in the final seconds, but
Shelvin Mack missed two 3-pointers.
the final horn sounded, James collapsed to the floor
and had to be helped to his feet by his teammates. It
was their turn to carry him.
received treatment following the game and the
four-time league MVP grimaced as he took his seat on
the podium for the postgame news conference.
been better," he said when asked how he was
feeling. "I play to exhaustion. I give as much as
I can give, and sometimes the body just shuts down.
overtime I asked to come out, but I actually had a
second thought. I wouldn't have felt right about the
situation. It was mind over matter there for me. I'm
playing through a lot but it doesn't matter. If I'm
putting on the uniform and I'm on the floor, I have to
make things happen for our team. It's that
will have just one day to rest up before the Cavs try
to earn their second Finals trip — and the fifth in
a row for James — in Game 4 on Tuesday night.
Teague scored 30 points and Paul Millsap 22 for the
Hawks, who scratched and clawed for 53 minutes.
10 in the fourth, the Hawks showed championship
toughness and nearly pulled off a win that would have
guaranteed them another home game on Thursday. They'll
have to dig deep again, and they are facing long odds
to win the series as no NBA team has ever overcome a
very proud of the way our guys competed," coach
Mike Budenholzer said.
dropped a nasty, step-back jumper with 55 seconds left
to put the Hawks up 111-109, but James answered —
following an offensive rebound by Tristan Thompson —
to knock down a corner 3 like the one he made at the
buzzer to beat Chicago in the second round, making it
112-111 with 36.4 seconds left.
then hit his runner over Millsap and the Cavs and
20,000 fans held their breath as Mack took two cracks
at the rim.
Cavs, who have been without forward Kevin Love since
the opening round, were again missing All-Star guard
Kyrie Irving, sidelined for his second straight game
with an injured left knee.
Cleveland has James, and even on a night when his shot
wasn't falling, he carried the Cavs, who can earn
their first trip to the Finals since James took them
there in 2007.
Dellavedova, starting for Irving, and J.R. Smith added
17 points apiece for Cleveland.
Hawks took a one-point lead into the third quarter
when James decided to seize control of the game. He
recorded 15 points, six rebounds and six assists in
the period as Cleveland went ahead by 10.
in a bind, the Hawks were dealt another major blow
when Horford was ejected in the final minute of the
first half for throwing an elbow at Dellavedova's
the two hustled for a loose ball on the floor,
Dellavedova rolled up on Horford's right leg and the
Atlanta big man responded by bringing his right arm
down hard and appearing to connect with the side of
the scrappy Australian guard's face.
three officials took their time watching a review of
the play before assessing Horford a Flagrant 2 and
tossing him. At that point, Horford had been the
Hawks' best player with 14 points.
did think he went at me, but I should have handled it
better," Horford said. "Shouldn't have
gotten caught up in that and it's something I'll
definitely learn from."
of the Hawks accused Dellavedova of playing dirty.
After all, he was the one who accidentally injured
Korver in Game 2.
would obviously disagree with that, I was boxing him
out," Dellavedova said. "You can see from
the baseline view that he's pulling my arm."
not trying to get people hurt," James said.
"But you play to win the game and you play
aggressively. This guy, he works his tails off every
single day. He beats the odds and he comes to play as
hard as he can every single night. If they're focusing
on Delly, they're focusing on the wrong thing."
a new knee brace, Irving was on the Quicken Loans
Arena floor nearly three hours before tipoff working
hard on his game. He made several quick cuts and
drives to the basket, and it appeared he might be
ready to give it a go after sitting out Game 2. But
the Cavs announced he was sitting out 45 minutes
before the game's start.
Atlanta shot better from the outside, but is just 21
of 79 on 3-pointers in the series. ... The Hawks went
28 of 32 from the line.
James has 12 postseason career triple-doubles. ...
James (4,782) passed Karl Malone (4,761) for sixth
place on the career scoring list. ... Since Jan. 19,
the Cavs are 25-2 at home.