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Cavaliers continue perfect postseason, shoot their way into history

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LeBron: We're proud to hold 3-point records (2:00)

LeBron James reacts to the Cavs setting the NBA record for threes made in a game, but believes the Cavs have work to do, saying, "We've got to be better in Game 3." (2:00)

CLEVELAND -- Before you read any further, please look up "Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, 1979" on Google Images. While you have the window open, next search for "Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, 2016."

See the difference? That is the physical manifestation of how long it has been since the NBA adopted the 3-point shot in 1979-80 before Bird and Johnson began their rookie seasons.

In the 36 years that have passed and thousands upon thousands of games that have been played since then, no team had ever made more than 23 3-pointers in an NBA game -- playoff or regular-season -- until the Cleveland Cavaliers splashed 25 of them in their 123-98 romp over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday to go up 2-0 on the Eastern Conference semifinals.

There have been many remarkable numbers to consider with the Cavs' 6-0 start to the postseason -- such as the fact that Kevin Love has had a double-double in every game; or the fact that the only game Kyrie Irving didn't score 20 was Wednesday (he had "only" 19 points on nine shots in 23 minutes because of the blowout); or the fact that LeBron James is 6-of-10 from 3 against the Hawks after shooting just 4-of-19 from deep in the first round against the Detroit Pistons -- but none of them compare to the 3s Cleveland made in Game 2.

It's hard to appreciate the significance of the barrage of triples the Cavs hit without simply listing all that went into those 25. So, take it away, ESPN Stats & Information:

  • Cleveland hit 18 3s in the first half. The previous record for 3s in a half was 12, set by the Golden State Warriors this season. There are six franchises that have never hit 18 3s in an entire game -- playoff or regular-season -- let alone in a half (76ers, Grizzlies, Jazz, Kings, Pelicans, Pistons).

  • The Cavs have played four home playoff games this spring. They've hit 20-plus 3s in two of them. In Game 2 against Detroit they hit 20, tying a playoff record for 3s in a game at the time. Shortly thereafter, Golden State set a new playoff record with 21 3s in Game 4 of its first-round series with Houston. That record lasted all of 11 days until Wednesday.

  • Of Cleveland's 25 makes from deep, only one hit multiple parts of the rim before going in. The other 24 were either swishes or hit the bottom of the back rim.

  • While the Cavs cooled in the fourth quarter, going 3-of-11 from 3 in the final stanza, they started 22-for-34 (64.7 percent). And for the game, they shot 9-of-13 (69.2 percent) on 3s that came after three passes or more.

  • Ten different players hit a 3 for Cleveland.

The quotes coming from the Cavs were also too copious not to list:

  • "They know our schemes, they match up well, play great set of defense throughout so to get 25, that's tough to put into words," said Love after Cleveland shot 55.6 percent from 3 against an Atlanta team that led the league in defensive field goal percentage during the regular season. "Tonight was one of those nights where you just kind of sit back and shake your head."

  • "Tonight was a special night for our organization," said James, who normally shrugs off accomplishments when they happen so as not to get sidetracked. "For all those that played in the game, the fans, to be able to set an all-time record in NBA history. This league has seen so many great teams, so many great players, so many great shooters and things of that nature. For us, today to be able to set an all-time record, it's special. It's truly special."

  • "I hope we can continue to do that," said Cavs coach Ty Lue when asked if Cleveland can keep it up from the outside. "We're making the right play. Kevin posts up, they double-team, we make the right pass out of the double team: swing [pass], swing [pass], shot. Or they double-team LeBron in the post. Or we drive the basketball in transition, LeBron's driving seams, Kyrie's driving seams and guys are open. If we're open we want to shoot those shots."

And then, of course, there's the guy who wants to shoot whether he is open or not, J.R. Smith, who was the grand marshal of the 3-point parade Wednesday by going 7-for-13 from downtown while racking up a plus-29 in 29 minutes.

"J.R., he's the only one on the team that has the ultra-green light," James said. "It's like fluorescent. Coach says, 'Hey, J.R., shoot! Shoot, shoot it, shoot it, shoot it.' "

Said Smith: "Whenever I shoot the ball, I have the confidence that it's going to go in."

It's a confidence shared by the entire Cavs team these days, now only 10 wins from the title. Cleveland is certainly getting hot at the right time.

"If they shoot the ball like that," Atlanta's Kyle Korver said, "I don't know if anyone can beat them, to be honest."