CLEVELAND (TICKER) —It’s not much, but the Atlanta Hawks completed a sweep of the NBA’s worst two teams on consecutive nights.
Terry hit a 3-pointer with four minutes left to snap a 98-98 tie and give Atlanta the lead for good.
“I’m a young man in this league,” said Terry, who played the entire game. “I’m still 25 and anything I can do to help this team to win. I want to be out there as much as possible. Forty-eight minutes is definitely not a problem with me.”
“I’ve never necessarily thought you should play a guy 48 minutes, but I couldn’t take him out of the game,” Hawks coach Terry Stotts said. “On a back-back, he just had the energy and he was pushing the ball.”
Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Glenn Robinson added 23 points apiece for the Hawks, who beat the Denver Nuggets, 92-86, on Tuesday and have won consecutive games for the first time since a three-game run from January 29-February 2.
“When we assembled this team we knew what the ‘Big Three’ could do,” Terry said. “It’s been a while since all three contributed. We’ve had all three score at the same time but we haven’t gotten the win.”
Cleveland owner Gordon Gund refuted recent claims by waived guard Bimbo Coles that the Cavaliers are tanking the season to give them a better chance to pick high school phenom LeBron James in the draft. But the losing continues.
Cleveland fell for the 10th time in 11 games and reached 50 losses for the fourth straight season. The Cavaliers beat the Nuggets to 50 losses by about an hour. Denver suffered its 50th defeat with a 98-96 setback in Memphis.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 27 points for Cleveland but was held to just two in the fourth quarter.
“They (Cavaliers) want to win so bad but they don’t have a veteran-oriented team with a guy that you can go to no matter what,” Cleveland coack Keith Smart said.
The Cavaliers got off to a quick start, scoring a season-high 36 points in the first quarter and taking a seven-point lead into the second period.
The Cavaliers increased their advantage to as many as 11 but committed nine of their 15 turnovers in the second quarter. The Hawks took advantage of Cleveland’s carelessness, ending the half with a 25-10 spurt to grab a 59-55 lead.
Atlanta committed 20 miscues, was outrebounded, 42-37, and attempted 19 less shots. However, the Hawks shot 52 percent from the field (39-of-76) while holding the Cavaliers to 42 percent (40-of-95).
“In the first half, I thought part of the shooting percentage was we got a lot of transition baskets and layups,” Stotts said. “It’s a crazy stat sheet. You get outrebounded and the other team gets almost 20 more shots. There’s a lot of different ways in winning games.”
The Hawks also assisted on 24 of 39 baskets.
“We moved the ball well tonight and we distributed the ball,” Robinson said. “When we move the ball like that, we feed off that, and everybody is happy and everybody’s on the same page. We play better on the defensive end, too.”
The Cavaliers closed to 107-105 on rookie Dajuan Wagner’s three-point play with 26 seconds left, but Abdur-Rahim and Dion Glover each made a pair from the line to seal the win. Glover finished with 17 points.
“In the fourth quarter, they outscored us,” said Cleveland rookie forward Carlos Boozer, who contributed 18 points. “You have to have more points than the other team, so we have to keep working on our defense.”