Add yet another milestone to the record books. The Cavaliers secured the Eastern Conference regular season title for a second straight season last night while becoming the 18th occurrence (and 9th different franchise) of a team winning 60 games in back-to-back years.
It was a meaningful night in Cleveland but one that was definitely contested throughout. After being swept by the Cavs in the post-season last year, the Hawks put up yet another solid fight during the 2009-2010 season. Unfortunately, it resulted in an all-too-familiar result as Atlanta fell to 0-3 in the season series with the finale coming at Phillips Arena for game #82.
Holding tight defensively down the stretch yet again provided ample time for LeBron James and the offense to finally get moving. The game had been tight during the entire contest but the Cavs pulled away comfortably in the closing minutes. In fact, the five-point margin was much closer than the way the ending actually played out.
The difference last night was the timely defense yet again. In the road game against Atlanta back in late December, the Cavs held the team scoreless for the bulk of a dozen minutes between the third and fourth quarters. The Hawks took a 74-72 lead with just under eight minutes to go in this game, but before they could react, the Cavs had taken a 10-point lead with a minute left. In those entire seven minutes, Atlanta scored only two points.
Let’s tackle the rest of the the recap in bullet points:
(Photo Credit: Reuters/Aaron Josefczyk)