Hawks close out season with win over Cavaliers

ATLANTA (Reuters) - The Atlanta Hawks snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, closing out the season with a 99-83 win over their Eastern Conference rivals.

Rookie Jeff Teague set career highs with 24 points and 15 assists for the Hawks, as both teams rested players having clinched their Eastern Conference playoff spots.

The Hawks, seeded third for the postseason, outscored the league-leading Cavaliers 29-14 in the third quarter to blow the game apart.

"It was fun just getting the opportunity to go out there and play," Teague told reporters. "It was fun for me and the other guys that don't get an opportunity to play as much. We went out there and got the win."

Atlanta (53-29) were swept by Cleveland in the second round of last year's postseason, but will not have to face them until the Eastern Conference finals should the teams progress that far.

The loss was Cleveland's (61-21) fourth in a row to finish the season, all without a resting LeBron James.

Shaquille O'Neal was available for the first time since injuring his thumb in February, but he, too, took the night off for Cleveland along with guard Mo Williams.

Jamario Moon scored a team-high 15 points and J.J. Hickson added 14 for the Cavaliers who will be favored heavily in the East when they open the postseason against the eighth-seeded Chicago Bulls.

James will be trying to lead Cleveland to a championship before he becomes a free agent in the off-season. The Cavaliers were defeated in the East finals by the Orlando Magic last season.

Atlanta finished the year with four straight wins to edge out the Boston Celtics for third spot in the conference.

Seven players scored in double-figures for the Hawks, who were without key players Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford and Jamal Crawford.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, Editing by Ian Ransom)