ATLANTA — The Cleveland Cavaliers have been on a 3-point binge since the first of the year. On Friday, they took it step further and set an NBA record in the process.
The Cavs, who have made at least 10 treys in their last 13 games, made 25 3-pointers in the 135-130 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night. That bested the regular-season record of 24 set on Dec. 16, 2016 by the Houston Rockets against Orlando. The Cavs made 25 against the Hawks in the playoffs last year.
“It should have been more,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. “It was a good win for us to come in here and beat this team.”
Kyrie Irving and LeBron James combined for 81 points to lead the effort. Irving made five 3-pointers and scored 43 points. James had six 3-pointers and scored 38. Derrick Williams, Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye and Kyle Korver had three 3-pointers apiece.
“We came in wanting to take away the 3-point line,” Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. “It’s a lot harder with the way LeBron James and Kyrie Irving create attention. We’ll get better. We’ll learn from tonight.”
The record-setting trey was made by Korver, a former Hawks player, with 1:17 left. Not only did it break the record, it also enabled the Cavaliers to withstand a furious Atlanta rally.
Cleveland led by as many as 25 points in the second half, but Atlanta cut the margin to one point on a bucket by Paul Millsap with 1:32 remaining. Korver then quelled the comeback by leaning in for his third 3-pointer of the night.
“We got to 25, got comfortable and started messing around with the game, taking bad shots, and they made some good shots, some tough shots,” Lue said.
James said, “They’re a good team. They were going to make a run. We just had to withstand it.”
Atlanta (34-26) was led by Tim Hardaway Jr., who came off the bench to score a career-high 36 points — including five 3-pointers — and Paul Millsap, who had 27 points and 10 rebounds. Dwight Howard added 15 points and 10 rebounds for his 40th double-double of the season. Kent Bazemore had 14 points and seven assists.
“Timmy was amazing and Paul did a lot of things,” Budenholzer said. “Bazemore got us in the right spots, got the ball to Paul. All the five guys out there were really good.”
Cleveland (42-18) also got 11 points apiece from Frye and Jefferson. James added 13 rebounds and eight assists, falling just short of his second consecutive triple-double. Irving had nine assists.
The Cavaliers shot 65.2 percent from the field in the first half and made 14 of 23 3-pointers to take a 77-60 lead. Irving and James each made three 3-point shots, with Irving scoring 23 and James getting 22 in the first half.
Irving’s trey with 2:54 left gave Cleveland a 17-point lead for the first time at 69-52.
“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.”
It was the most points allowed by the Hawks in a half but four short of a season high for points in the first half scored by the Cavs. Atlanta shot 55.6 percent in the first half.
The win squares the season series; Atlanta won the first game in Cleveland. They play back-to-back games in April.
NOTES: LeBron James was named NBA Player of the Month in February for the sixth straight season. … Inactive for Atlanta was G Mike Dunleavy (right ankle soreness). Inactive for Cleveland were F Kevin Love (left knee), G J.R. Smith (right thumb fracture) and G Kay Felder. C Andrew Bogut, who signed with the Cavaliers on Wednesday, was not present. He is expected to join the team in Miami. … Former Hawks F Kyle Korver was honored with a video tribute upon his return to Atlanta and received a standing ovation. … Atlanta has signed veteran PG Jose Calderon. He had averaged 3.3 points in 24 games with the Lakers. … The Hawks retired the No. 44 jersey worn by Pete Maravich in a halftime ceremony. He was the team’s first-round pick (No. 3 overall) in the 1970 NBA draft and averaged 24.2 points in four seasons with the team. Maravich went on to play for New Orleans, Utah and Boston and was named to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987. He died in 1988. … Atlanta will host Indiana on Sunday, the third of six consecutive home games. The Cavaliers complete a three-game road trip on Saturday at Miami.