LeBron James tallied 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists as the Atlanta Hawks suffered a double blow when they were beaten 97-89 by the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game One of the Eastern Conference finals and lost DeMarre Carroll to what looked like a serious knee injury.
JR Smith caught fire off the bench with 28 points as the Cavaliers grabbed the lead in the best-of-seven series.
"I was just trying to take good shots. I got into a rhythm early and stayed aggressive," Smith told reporters. "I'm just trying to be myself. They seem to accept that more here."
Smith, who has seen his reputation tainted by sour exits at previous teams, has thrived since being acquired by the Cavaliers in a mid-season trade.
Adding injury to the insult of dropping Game One on their home floor, the Hawks lost leading playoff scorer Carroll in the fourth quarter when he planted his foot and fell on a non-contact play.
Carroll was carried off and will undergo an MRI to reveal the extent of the damage on Thursday.
"At this point I think the doctors are saying it's a knee sprain, we'll know more (on Thursday), said Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer. "He's a big player who has impact on both ends of the floor; other people will have opportunities."
Jeff Teague had a team-high 27 points for the Hawks, while Al Horford added 16.