LOS ANGELES: The Cleveland Cavaliers set an NBA regular-season record with 25 three-pointers on Friday (Saturday in Manila) as they defeated the Hawks 135-130 in Atlanta.
Former Hawks player Kyle Korver delivered the record-setting three-pointer with 1:17 remaining as the Cavaliers turned back a furious Atlanta rally.
The reigning NBA champion Cavaliers led by as many as 25 points in the second half, but the Hawks trimmed the deficit to one point on Paul Millsap’s basket with 1:32 to play.
Korver then drained his third three-pointer of the night to help the Cavs hang on. It was an emotional night for Korver, who was traded by the Hawks on January. He was greeted by a standing ovation when he entered the game late in the first quarter and the Hawks showed a video tribute to his time in Atlanta after the first period.
But it was Kyrie Irving and LeBron James who dazzled for the Cavs.
Irving scored 43 points, making eight from three-point range while James, coming off his seventh triple-double of the season on Wednesday, scored 38 points, including six from beyond the arc.
James also pulled down 13 rebounds and handed out eight assists.
The Cavs’ 25 treys, on 46 attempts, broke a record that had stood less than three months. The Houston Rockets made 24 in a 122-100 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on December 16. The Rockets had shared the previous record of 23 with the Golden State Warriors.
The Cavaliers’ previous best for three-pointers made in a regular-season game was 22 on December 7 against the Knicks in New York, although their 25 against the Hawks in a playoff game last season was already a post-season record.
Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue called it a “good win,” but he said his team got sloppy with their big lead.
“That first 2 1/2 quarters was great basketball,” Lue said. “That’s how we’re capable of playing. Moving the basketball, sharing the basketball, making the extra pass … that’s who we are.
“We got to 25 (ahead), got comfortable and started messing around with the game, taking bad shots and they made some good shots, some tough shots.”
James said he wasn’t surprised at the Hawks’ late surge.
“They’re a good team,” he said. ‘They were going to make a run. We just had to withstand it.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Hawks, coming off the bench to score a career-high 36 points.
Millsap added 27 points and 10 rebounds and Dwight Howard added 15 points and 10 rebounds for his 40th double-double of the season.
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said Atlanta came into the contest “wanting to take away the three-point line”.
“It’s a lot harder with the way LeBron James and Kyrie Irving create attention,” he acknowledged. “We’ll get better. We’ll learn from tonight.”