J.R. Smith paced the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but LeBron James was the King in Game 2. He scored 30 points and dished out 11 assists, his third double-digit assist game of the postseason, in Cleveland’s 94-82 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
The King scores and creates
James recorded his 74th career 30-point game in the postseason, tied with Jerry West for fourth most all time. With his next 30-point effort, he’ll tie Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for third most, but it may be a while before he passes either Kobe Bryant (88) or Michael Jordan (109).
James didn’t just score in this game for the Cavaliers, however. He also had 11 assists which led to 30 Cavs points. He was responsible for 60 Cavs points on Friday, his second most in a single game this postseason.
And James was especially big in the pivotal third quarter, where the Cavs pushed their five-point halftime lead to 18. James scored or assisted on 25 of the Cavs' 30 points in that quarter.
Dellavedova steps up on defense
Matthew Dellavedova stepped into the starting lineup for Kyrie Irving, who missed Game 2 with left knee tendinitis, and made his impact defensively. Hawks point guards Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder struggled when they were defended by Dellavedova, scoring seven points on 3-of-14 shooting (21.4 percent) in Game 2. When they were guarded by any other defender, they were 8-for-12 for 18 points.
What does 2-0 mean?
The Cavaliers went up 2-0 on the Hawks with their second win in Atlanta. They are the eighth team to go up 2-0 on the road in a best-of-seven conference finals, and the previous seven all won the series.
The four teams that would go on to win the NBA title were from the West, while the two previous teams to do it in the East lost in the Finals, so the Cavs have a bit of history to overcome.
Also, no James team has ever lost a playoff series when taking 2-0 lead, winning all 14 times it has happened previously.
Hawks didn’t move the ball well
The Hawks on offense attempted 60 percent of their shots when a pass didn’t directly lead to the shot in Game 2, their most in a game in the playoffs. The Hawks shot 38 percent on those attempts compared to 47 percent on attempts that derived from a pass.