ATLANTA — Mike Scott ended a scoring slump with 26 points and the Atlanta Hawks beat Cleveland 117-98 today in a costly setback for the Cavaliers’ late-season playoff push.
The Hawks, who began the night percentage points behind the New York Knicks in the race for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, set a season high with 39 first-quarter points and never trailed.
Atlanta had lost seven of eight but recovered with strong games by Scott and Jeff Teague, who had 20 points and 12 assists.
The Cavaliers, who had won five of six to move within two games of the Hawks and Knicks, lost an opportunity to possibly move within a game of eighth place.
Dion Waiters led Cleveland with 23 points. Spencer Hawes had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Kyrie Irving and Luol Deng each had 13.
Scott made 12 of 13 shots from the field. Scott, a backup forward, had a combined 16 points in his past four games. He topped that with 18 in the first half.
The Hawks had six 3-pointers while setting a season high for first-quarter points in taking a 39-23 lead. Atlanta committed nine turnovers in the second quarter, but Cleveland still outscored the Hawks only 26-22 in the period and trailed 61-49 at halftime.
As Cleveland opened the second half with almost 5 minutes without a field goal, Teague took over for Atlanta. Teague had nine points in the third period, including three straight baskets and a driving layup to beat the buzzer at the end of the period.
Teague added two 3-pointers in the last 3 minutes as the Cavaliers never mounted a serious challenge.
Paul Millsap had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawks. Lou Williams also had 16 points.