Final score: Cleveland Cavaliers 99, Atlanta Hawks 72
After NBA commissioner David Stern presented him the MVP trophy, LeBron James took off for 22 first-half points in Tuesday night's 99-72 win.
Analysis: LeBron James celebrated his NBA MVP award by leading the Cavaliers to a Game 1 victory. Josh Smith showed Tuesday he could be a major problem for Cleveland, but likely won’t be because he’s inconsistent (17 points in the first half, five in the second half). Overall, the Cavaliers made it look relatively easy in the sense that they got open shots whenever they wanted.
The go-getter: LeBron James (Cleveland) had a game-high 34 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and three assists in 34 minutes and 19 seconds of play. He scored nine straight points to help the Cavaliers build a double-digit lead in the third quarter they never relinquished.
The brick-layer: Joe Johnson (Atlanta) actually shot 5-of-10 from the field, but only scored 11 points. If Atlanta has any shot of winning even a game in this series, he’s got to score more points than that.
The stunning stats: The Hawks had several. They scored just 28 points in the second half. For the game, Atlanta committed 17 turnovers that lead to 23 Cleveland points. Finally, the Hawks had just 10 bench points.
The play: On the game’s first play, James, off a pick, went to the basket and finished the play with a powerful two-handed dunk. Smith avoided getting dunked on, but his hand was in the picture when James powered the ball through the basket.
What’s next: Game 2 Thursday at Cleveland, 8 p.m.
What to expect: With Cleveland having been off a week after sweeping Detroit in the first round, it didn’t play its best game as a team Tuesday. The Hawks had a chance to take advantage of that and didn’t. Now with a recent game under their belt, the Cavaliers should play better as a whole, thus really take it to the Hawks in Game 2.