Cleveland’s Big Three is on quite a roll.
Two playoff series, two sweeps.
Now, the Cavaliers get to rest up for the Eastern Conference finals.
Kevin Love scored 27 points, LeBron James knocked down a huge shot with 39.2 seconds to go, and Kyrie Irving turned in another dazzling performance to lead Cleveland past the Atlanta Hawks 100-99 on Sunday.
The Cavaliers finished off the second-round series with four straight wins, just as they did in the opening round against Detroit.
“This is more than I dreamed of,” Irving said. “It’s what I genuinely enjoy about basketball, playing with great guys.”
When James returned to Cleveland after four years in South Beach, winning the franchise’s first championship was the only goal that mattered. Love was acquired from Minnesota to complete the dynamic trio, but the Cavaliers came up short in Year 1 when both Love and Irving went down with injuries in the playoffs.
Now, fully healthy and finally comfortable together after some rocky moments, LeBron & Co. cruised into the conference finals to meet either Toronto or Miami. The Raptors lead that series 2-1.
“We’re in a great rhythm right now,” said James, who won two titles with the Heat and wants to bring one home. “We know exactly where we want to be on the floor.”
Love carried Cleveland much of the game, hitting one 3-pointer after another as the Hawks continually left him open in the corner. He went cold down the stretch but still finished 8 of 15 from beyond the arc. He made only one two-point basket — with his toe on the stripe. James and Irving finished with 21 points apiece. James also doled out nine assists, while Irving had eight.
The Hawks had one last chance to extend the series and put the ball in the hands of Dennis Schroder, who led the team with 21 points. The speedy point guard drove into the lane but was surrounded by James and Tristan Thompson. Schroder slipped and James tied up the ball, forcing a huge mismatch of a jump ball with 2.8 seconds left.
“I just tried to be aggressive,’ said Schroder, who was at least hoping to draw a foul. “They didn’t call it, so we can’t take it back. We’ve got to live with that.”