CLEVELAND--So that's what the Cavaliers brought sharpshooter Mike Dunleavy to Cleveland for.
Last off-season, the Cavs traded for Dunleavy, but he was plagued with injuries and was unable to contribute in his short stay with Cleveland. He was part of the trade that brought Kyle Korver to Cleveland. However, Dunleavy haunted his former team hitting four-of-five from three-point range on his way to 20 points as the Atlanta Hawks beat the Cavs 114-100 at Quicken Loans Arena in front of a sell out crowd. Tim Hardaway, Jr. led the Hawks with 22 points.
After a big blowout win over the Celtics in Boston Wednesday night, the Cavs fell flat against the Hawks with a chance to all but clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs fall to 51-28 and are up one game over the Boston Celtics for the best record in the Eastern Conference with three games to play in the regular season. The Cavs have a return trip to Atlanta on Sunday afternoon. Cleveland owns the tie breaker with Boston should the two teams finish with identical records.
The loss came when the Hawks were resting their starters and Tyronn Lue wasn't happy after the game. Cleveland led by nine points in the third quarter.
"Obviously a bad performance," Lue said. "Beat Boston and have the game that we had, and to come back and not validate it against a team that didn't even play their guys.
"I didn't think we respected them tonight," he said. "I thought we thought we'd just mess around with the game until it was time to knuckle down. By that time, they already had confidence. That's who we've been. That's who we are. I hate it. These games like this come back and bite you, especially down the stretch when you're trying to get some rest. Trying to hold on to that No. 1 seed and getting rest, and you come out and have a performance like this, it's not good."
LeBron James led the Cavs with 27 points, while Kyrie Irving added 18. Kevin Love had 15 points and 15 rebounds, while Channing Frye scored 16 points filling in for Tristan Thompson, who was out with a thumb injury.
What's Left: The Cavs (51-28) lead the Celtics (50-29) by one game with three to play for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. By virtue of winning the season series, 3-1, Cleveland owns the tie-breaker should the teams finish tied in the regular season, thus the Cavs virtually have a 1.5 game lead. Boston finishes their season at Charlotte (36-43), home to Brooklyn (19-60) and Milwaukee (40-39). Cleveland plays at Atlanta (41-38) on Sunday before playing at Miami (38-41) on Monday and finishing at home on Wednesday against Toronto (48-31).
Boston plays two teams who are out of the playoffs, with just the Bucks playing for a playoff seed. Currently, all three of the Cavs opponents are playing for the playoffs or seeding.
Bad Shooting: The Cavs were just 25 percent from three-point range hitting just 9-of-25 from behind the arc.
TT Back: Tristan Thompson is expected back for the game Sunday with the Hawks in Atlanta.
Next Up: The Cavs play the Hawks Sunday at 3:30 pm in a nationally televised game, before finishing their regular season schedule next week against the Heat and the Raptors.