"I wish I knew. I can’t say it’s been that way since the All-Star game, but it’s been that way against the Cavaliers. We’ve had close games against them, and we can’t find any offense in the fourth quarter."More from Woodson:
"I thought their defense stiffened in the last six minutes and we didn’t respond. We just didn’t answer."And on rebounding:
"That was huge. That’s another area that we have to clean up."Michael Cunningham:
What I saw was similar to what happened at Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Toronto, New York, Miami and Golden State. The details may differ somewhat but the bottom line doesn’t: The Hawks couldn’t make plays to close out a close game on the road.According to ESPN Stats and Information, over the course of their three meetings this season, the Hawks have outscored the Cavs by 3 points in quarters one through three and have been outscored by the Cavs by 25 points in the three fourth quarters.
Also, Jamal Crawford has played all 36 fourth quarter minutes against Cleveland this season. He's scored four points on two of twelve shooting from the field.
Atlanta made just six of its first 19 shots in the fourth quarter, most of them jumpers because they couldn't get near the basket without a fierce contest. They never had much of a chance at a second chance as the Cavs put the finishing touches on a masterful rebounding performance, beating up Atlanta on the boards to the tune of 55-36.LeBron James:
"We're definitely cleaning the glass up and we all had to rebound. That's an athletic team and it allows them to get out on the break when they get a defensive rebound."Hoopinion reader?
"It's definitely frustrating. You don't want to come close and not win. It's a learning lesson. We have to be able to finish games with the best of them."Two-of-seven from the free throw line. Five jump shots. Seven rebounds. Finishing the game was the least of Josh Smith induced frustrations last night.