May 7, 2009

NBA: Cleveland 105, Atlanta 85

LeBron James scored 27 points Thursday and helped the Cleveland Cavaliers blow the game open early en route to a 105-85 victory over Atlanta.

The Cavaliers remained unbeaten in the playoffs, boosting their lead over Atlanta in the Eastern Conference semifinals to 2-0 after having swept Detroit in the first round.

Atlanta suffered greatly from the absence of center Al Horford, who missed the game with a sore right ankle. Horford sprained the ankle in the fifth game of Atlanta's opening-round series against Miami and played only 25 minutes in the first contest against Cleveland.

James, named the NBA's most valuable player earlier in the week, sent Cleveland storming to a 30-point lead entering the third period and wound up playing only 31 minutes.

He made 9-of-14 shots from the field and was supported by 17 points from Wally Szczerbiak and 15 from Mo Williams.

The Cavaliers held a 20-16 lead before holding Atlanta to one point over the final 2:11 of the first period and to no points during the first 2:38 of the second quarter. That allowed Cleveland to build a 15-point advantage and the Hawks never threatened to get back in the game.

Atlanta managed to outscore the Cavaliers by 10 in the final period with bench players on the court.

Maurice Evans led Atlanta with 16 points. The Hawks will host the third game of the series Saturday.