NBA

Hawks hand Cavaliers ninth straight loss

by The Associated Press

alt

AP Photo/David Tulis

Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) passes the ball under pressure from Cleveland Cavaliers' Chris Quinn (20) and Marreese Speights in the first half of an NBA basketball game at Philips Arena on Monday, April 1. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

ATLANTA (AP) -- Devin Harris scored a season-high 25 points and Josh Smith nearly added a triple-double Monday night as the Atlanta Hawks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-94 to improve their chances of securing home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Smith had 18 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists before a sparse crowd in Philips Arena to help the Hawks (42-33) pull within one game of Brooklyn (42-31) for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

Reserve Marreese Speights scored 14 of his 22 in the final quarter, but the Cavs (22-51) did not seriously threaten after pulling within 58-56 early in the third period.

Shaun Livingston, starting with Kyrie Irving not playing in the second night of a back-to-back, had 14 points and six assists in Cleveland's ninth straight loss.

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