ATLANTA -- Wrapped in towels from head to toe,
What thoughts were going through the greatest basketball player on Earth's mind as he iced his knees and soaked his feet? Was he thinking about how he controlled virtually every aspect of Cleveland's 97-82 win
Cavaliers general manager
Around LeBron, various Cavaliers talked about how their star propelled them to this near-clinching series victory.
The Hawks (figuratively) threw some punches. Unlike in Cleveland, Atlanta showed some heart, protecting the rim, getting out on the break and attacking the basket.
"It's not like we didn't show up," said
No, they showed up, and after a very strong half on their home court they trailed 47-46 thanks to James, who has seemingly scored on the last possession of every quarter this series. He had a hand in 13 of Cleveland's 17 first-half baskets either by assists or scoring the hoop himself, thwarting an energized team almost by himself.
"I knew how important this game was," James said. "I needed to let my team know early how I was feeling."
James drained five three-pointers, shot 60 percent from the floor and had one turnover in 43 minutes. In the second half, the Cavs' offense became James dribbling at midcourt and then making something happen.
"At one point, I saw all five (defenders) looking at LeBron," Williams said. "That defense isn't going to win too many games against us."
The Cavs led 72-65 at the end of three (thanks to another quarter-ending drive by James) and stretched it out early in the fourth when James asked coach
"I've seen LeBron do a lot of things," said
The Cavs put together a 9-0 run with 9:10 to play that pushed a six-point lead to 15 and pretty much put the game out of reach. James had six of the nine, including one ridiculous fallaway.
The Cavs outrebounded the Hawks 46-23, with James leading the way with 12 and Anderson Varejao grabbing 10, including seven offensive.
LeBron entertained before the game, as well, swishing an underhanded half-court shot during warmups on his third attempt. ... Cavs coach Mike Brown was asked before the game if his players were aware of the different statistical records they were approaching in terms of consecutive wins and field goal percentage defense, and Brown appeared ready to answer "no." Instead, he called an unsuspecting
The question is whether this one ends in a sweep on Monday or gets back to Cleveland for a Game 5 finale. One thing the Hawks can take away is they looked healthy. Johnson and