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Sweep complete: Cavaliers dominate Hawks at 3-point line

Game 4 was a rout. And while the series wasn’t quite that, it seemed like one team always had control.

The Cleveland Cavaliers advanced to the NBA Finals with a 118-88 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.

The Cavaliers will be making their first NBA Finals appearance since 2007, when they got swept by the San Antonio Spurs.

The 30-point win was the second-largest margin of victory by a team clinching an NBA Finals appearance in a best-of-7 sweep. It just barely missed being the biggest, which remains a 31-point win by the Los Angeles Lakers over the Seattle SuperSonics in 1987.

Difference-maker: 3-point shooting

The Cavaliers dominated the Hawks largely because Atlanta could not replicate its 3-point shooting success from the regular season.

The Hawks shot 23 percent (26-for-111) from 3-point range in the series, compared to 40 percent for the Cavaliers (49-for-123).

The Hawks were the second-best 3-point shooting team in the regular season at 38 percent.

Three of the Hawks' five worst 3-point shooting games of their campaign were against the Cavaliers -- in Game 1 and 4 of this series and during a regular-season game on Nov. 15.

The absence of Kyle Korver for the final two games of the series was particularly noticeable in Game 4, as the Hawks shot 5-of-32 from 3-point range.

The Hawks’ big men (Mike Scott, Paul Millsap, Al Horford, Mike Muscala and Pero Antic were a combined 1-for-25 from the 3 line in the series. They shot a combined 34 percent from 3-point range in the regular season.

The history

The Cavaliers are 8-0 all-time against the Hawks in the postseason, with sweeps in 2009 and 2015.

Cavaliers head coach David Blatt is the first rookie coach to sweep that season’s NBA Coach of the Year (Atlanta's Mike Budenholzer) in a best-of-7 series.

LeBron James will play in the NBA Finals for the fifth straight season. The Elias Sports Bureau noted that he will be the ninth player in NBA history (and first non-Celtic) to play in five straight NBA Finals.

Elias also noted that James will be the third to play in the NBA All-Star Game and the NBA Finals in five straight seasons, joining NBA legends Bill Russell and Bob Cousy.

Also via Elias: James' teams have won the last 12 home games during which his team could clinch a playoff series. His last such loss came during his first stint with the Cavaliers in 2008.

Yes, it was a pretty good day for James. He also passed Larry Bird into seventh place on the all-time list for career steals in the playoffs.

J.R.’s play is just right

J.R. Smith had another big game, finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds. It was his second straight double-double. He did not have a double-double all season until the last two games of this series.

Looking ahead

The Cavaliers are the 14th team to reach the Finals with two or fewer losses and third since the NBA switched in 2003 to the format with seven games in the first round. The last two teams to reach the Finals with two or fewer losses -- the 2003 New Jersey Nets and 2013 Spurs -- both lost.