Originally created 12/30/00

Cavaliers 97, Hawks 85



ATLANTA -- Matt Harpring and Chris Gatling helped the Cleveland Cavaliers stop their downward spiral.

"We accepted the challenge tonight," said Gatling, a reserve who scored 13 points in a 97-85 victory over the Atlanta Hawks that halted the Cavs' five-game losing streak. "Guys went out and played hard. Everybody was really prepared."

Lamond Murray scored 22 points and Andre Miller had 19 for Cleveland.

Jason Terry had 28 points and Dikembe Mutombo had 20 rebounds for the Hawks.

"We battled back instead of giving in," said Harpring, who had 13 points despite an ailing left Achilles tendon. "When you're on a losing streak, it's easy to fall and keep falling."

Murray, who pulled down 11 rebounds, hit a pair of 3-pointers and had a tip-in to push Cleveland's lead to 10 points midway through fourth quarter.

Miller left the game with 9:52 to go in the third after hitting his head on the floor as he fouled Terry. He returned with two stitches above his left eye to hit a 3-pointer with 2:22 remaining that gave Cleveland a 91-80 lead.

The Cavs are battling injuries. Harpring and Gatling (sprained right ankle) were listed as questionable after missing a home loss to Milwaukee Thursday. Three other key players - starting center Zydrunas Ilgauskas (broken left foot), guard Bimbo Coles (knee) and guard Wesley Person (elbow) - are on the injured list.

"I was impressed with the way we wanted to play," Cleveland coach Randy Wittman said. "We followed our script defensively."

Atlanta lost its second straight after winning four in a row. The Hawks trailed by 12 points with 4:59 remaining in the third and stormed back to take a 76-75 lead on Terry's 18-foot jumper with 9:38 remaining in the game.

"It seems like a throwback to several weeks ago when we just didn't have the energy or the activity," Hawks coach Lon Kruger said. "I certainly credit Cleveland for making the plays and for dictating much of the ballgame, especially early."

Harpring, an Atlanta native who starred at Georgia Tech, dropped in a layup that gave the Cavs a lead they never relinquished.

Terry, who scored 11 of his 28 points in the third quarter, missed three shots and had two turnovers down the stretch.

"The last two games have been tough," Terry said. "We get behind late in critical times, and I take full blame for it offensively. I just couldn't find the range when I needed it."

Clarence Weatherspoon hit three consecutive jumpers from the left baseline to give Cleveland an eight-point lead with 3:09 to go. Weatherspoon finished with 16 points.

Lorenzen Wright scored 20 points for the Hawks.

Notes:

The Cavs converted 19 Atlanta turnovers into 28 points. ... Brevin Knight handed out five of his game-high six assists in the third quarter. ... Mutombo extended his free throw scoring streak to 20, the longest of his career in Atlanta.