Originally created 12/18/97

Hawks 18-5 run leads to 94-83 win



ATLANTA -- Steve Smith scored 23 points and the Atlanta Hawks extended their winning streak to four games, pulling away in the fourth quarter to beat Cleveland 94-83 Wednesday night.

The Cavaliers lost for the second time in three games after a 10-game winning streak.

The Hawks, coming off a four-game West Coast trip in which they won the final three, sealed the victory with an 18-5 run in the fourth period. Eldridge Recasner finished off the spurt with a 3-pointer and a layup off a pass from Mookie Blaylock.

Smith had a fine all-around game, shooting 7-of-14 from the field, including a couple of 3s, and making all seven of his foul shots. He added four rebounds, four assists and a steal.

Christian Laettner scored 18 points and Blaylock had 16 to go along with seven assists.

The game was tied at the end of the first and second quarters, but Leettner broke the final deadlock with layup that pushed the Hawks ahead 51-49 with 7:09 remaining in the third.

Smith and Blaylock combined to score Atlanta's final 10 points of the period, pushing the Hawks to a 68-61 lead. Cleveland got within three early in the final quarter before Atlanta took control.

The Hawks did their best shooting at the beginning and the end. The Hawks shot 61 percent in the first quarter, building a 10-point lead, and finished off the Cavaliers by hitting 56 percent in the fourth.

Even though the Hawks don't have a permanent home arena, they continue to be one of the league's best home teams. Atlanta, which will move into a new coliseum in 1999, improved to 8-1 at the Georgia Dome and 10-2 overall in their temporary surroundings.

The Hawks (19-5) also have the best 24-game record in Atlanta history, surpassing the 18-6 record of the 1986-87 team.

Cleveland's Shawn Kemp scored 20 points, but had only 5 in the second half. Rookie Derek Anderson also had 20 points, a high for his brief career, but no other Cavalier had more than 10.

Notes: Hawks forward Alan Henderson played his first game since suffering a sprained ankle on Nov. 16. Henderson, who missed 13 games while recovering from the injury, scored 5 points and grabbed four rebounds. ... Kemp had an embarrassing moment in the fourth quarter. He tried to dunk off a lob pass from Brevin Knight but wound up too far from the basket. The ball bounced off the side of the rim and sailed at least 20 feet into the air before the Hawks rebounded. ... Atlanta is 14-0 when outshooting opponents from the field. ... The Hawks had a season-low 31 rebounds.