With big man Dwight Howard missing from the lineup, the Atlanta Hawks got a big win on Friday ahead of the 2017 NBA Playoffs. Atlanta was able to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 114-100 despite Howard's absence as well as several other starters missing from the game. Thanks to Tim Hardaway Jr., Atlanta may have gained some real momentum with just a few games left on their schedule before the postseason begins. Here's a look at how the Atlanta Hawks got another big win on Friday night against one of the top teams in the East.

Hardaway leads Hawks

Making for a shocker, Atlanta was without Dwight Howard, Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore, and Paul Millsap for tonight's surprising win.

Leading the way for Friday's victory was shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. with 22 points. The former Michigan star shot 9-for-14 and drained four-of-nine three-point shots he attempted while also dishing out five assists in the game. Teammate Mike Dunleavy came off the bench to score 20 points while starting forwards Ersan Ilyasova and Kris Humphries combined for 25 points and 14 rebounds.

The Cleveland Cavaliers played all of their stars with their trio of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love all on the court. James led the way with a 27-point performance to go with eight assists and seven rebounds. Irving finished with 17 points and seven assists while Kevin Love recorded a double-double of 15 points and 15 boards.

However, the Cavs shot just 9-for-36 from three-point range while Atlanta hit 43 percent of their attempted threes tonight. In addition, the Hawks out-rebounded the Cavs 42-38 in this surprise win on the road.

NBA standings & what's next

With tonight's big win in Cleveland, the Atlanta Hawks improved their record to 41-38.

There are just three games left on their schedule, and they've yet to actually clinch a playoff spot. As of right now, they're considered the No. 5 seed, but just a few games separate the teams below them from Atlanta. Next up, the Hawks play the Cavs again but at home on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time on NBA TV.

The loss by Cleveland dropped them to 51-28 overall with three games to go for their NBA season. The Cavs are still sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings but now are just a game ahead of the Boston Celtics. On Saturday, the Celtics take on the Charlotte Hornets with a chance to move closer to that top spot. Cleveland gets an opportunity to avenge tonight's loss when they visit Atlanta on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

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