The Cleveland Cavaliers obliterated the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday with a barrage of three-point shots which set the NBA record for most makes from behind the arc in a single game at 25.
The 123-98 win has left the Hawks with a mountain to climb and in serious danger of being swept by the Cavs for the second consecutive year in the postseason.
The manner of Cleveland's victory prompted a reaction from some former NBA players who bemoaned Mike Budenholzer's team for their lack of effort and for not doing enough to stop the onslaught coming their way.
Article continues below
The NBA has changed considerably over the last few decades and the league has stamped out the physical play that was common in the league decades ago. But speaking after the game on "Inside the NBA", Hall of Famer Charles Barkley believed Atlanta should've resorted to it in an attempt to slow the Cavaliers down.
"The Atlanta Hawks got to take somebody out," he said. “You’re not trying to hurt them, but you’ve got to take somebody out. When a team is just embarrassing you, shooting 3s when the game is way over just trying to set a record … if you keep shooting 3s, I’ve got to take you down one time really hard.”
The outspoken Barkley's comments caused a stir on Thursday and got people talking, with many questioning if the former MVP had gone too far with his comments on this occasion.
One man who definitely believed that was the case was Cleveland head coach Tyronn Lue who took exception to Barkely's assertion that their Eastern Conference rivals should get physical.
"I don't think there's any place in our game to take someone out if they're playing well," Lue said on a conference call with reporters Thursday, per ESPN. "I think you can take it upon yourself to play harder and do things to stop it or stop a team from playing well.
"But when it gets into trying to hurt guys or trying to take guys out, that's just not right. Hopefully the referees will keep an eye on it and make sure it's a clean game. We don't mind if it's a physical game, but clean and everything that they do and we do is basketball related. I don't believe in taking guys out and trying to hurt guys because a team or a player is playing well."
Former NBA player Charles Oakley, who famously had an altercation with Barkley during their time in the league and is a Cleveland native, also responded to the TNT analyst's words via Twitter.
One thing is for sure, the Atlanta Hawks certainly need to do something differently against LeBron James and the Cavs as they are now on a nine-game losing streak against them.
The series shifts to Atlanta on Saturday and it has turned into a must-win game for the home team if they are to stand any chance of progressing.