The Cleveland Cavaliers shook off some rust, and then the Atlanta Hawks.
Newly crowned MVP LeBron James scored 34 points and the well-rested Cavs, who waited nine days between playoff games after a first-round sweep, pulled away in the second half for a 99-72 win over the Atlanta Hawks in their Eastern Conference semifinal opener Tuesday at Cleveland.
Showing why he was voted the league's most valuable player in a landslide, James also had 10 rebounds, three assists and four steals as the top-seeded Cavaliers won their fifth straight lopsided game in a postseason that has so far mirrored the best regular season in franchise history.
Mo Williams scored 21 points for Cleveland, which has won each of its five games by double figures.
"It was unbelievable how sharp we were," James said. "We just picked up where we left off."
With the Cavaliers up by 21, James was pulled with 4:29 left -- extra down time before Game 2 on Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena, where the Cavaliers are 42-2.