Cavaliers-Hawks: Cavs Win Game One with Ease, 99-72

Johnny RussoContributor IMay 6, 2009

Anybody who doubted that the Cavs would play well in game one because they haven't played in an actual game in over a week, were wrong. The Cavs were able to shake off any rust they had early on and run away with a 27 \[point victory over the Atlanta Hawks, 99-72.
It all started with NBA commissioner David Stern presenting LeBron James with the first MVP trophy of his career. 
Quicken Loans Arena was ecstatic from that point on and the M-V-P chants from the crowd were so loud that you couldn't hear Stern present James with the trophy. 
James sure played like an MVP. 
He set the tone early on by scoring 16 points and grabbing five rebounds in the first quarter. On the opening play of the game, he drove baseline for a two-handed dunk that had the crowd roaring once again.
He went on to finish with 34 points and 10 rebounds. More importantly, he helped get his team in rhythm and come up with a victory. 
"I'm just taking what the defense is giving me," said James. " I just wanted to be a little bit more aggressive knowing the time that we had off. I didn't want to settle much. I wanted to try to get a good flow on the offensive end."
The story of this game came in the second half. Cleveland's lead was just five at halftime and it was the start of the third quarter when they really turned it up, especially on the defensive end. 
After allowing the Hawks to shoot 56 percent from the floor in the first half, they forced them to shoot 30 percent (9-of-30) in the second half. Atlanta scored just 28 points in the half, which is what Cleveland scored in the third quarter alone. 
Much of that credit is due to Delonte West for containing Atlanta's leading scorer, Joe Johnson, most of the night. Johnson scored just 11 points and committed five turnovers after seeing many double teams and being hassled by West all night. 
"We did some things on Joe to where Delonte wasn't on him by himself, but he was very good defensively trying to make Joe work," said Mike Brown. "I told him, I said 'hey you had Rip Hamilton in the first series, you got Joe Johnson now. So do what you do'. He has tough assignments and he takes those on time after time."
West was able to take on a tough defensive assignment as well as score 13 points on the offensive end and dish out 9 assists. Mo Williams scored 21 points and knocked down four three-pointers. 
So far the playoffs have been a breeze for the Cavaliers as they have won every game (5 games) by double figures. They have done that by remaining tough on the defensive end of the floor. If they defend Atlanta the way they did on Tuesday, there should be no problems closing out this series in four or five games. 
Atlanta is a very good home team and if they have a shot at stealing a game it will be game three. The Cavs will play the Hawks in game two on Thursday night on their home floor where they hold a 42-2 record for the season.