What can you say after a performance like that from the Cleveland Cavaliers (44-38)?
It was a difficult Friday night battle and only one squad can advance onward.
The Cavs just couldn’t get it done, but they gave effort.
In essence, there is so much to delve into after the Cavs have lost at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to the visiting Atlanta Hawks, 107-101, which eliminated the home team from postseason contention. A play-in with so many questions and answers I’m sure all Cleveland fans have in mind.
Starting off this contest, Evan Mobley and Lauri Markkanen drilled a three-point basket giving the Cavs a 6-0 cushion at 11:08 of the first quarter. Markkanen was able to add three shots from downtown and netted 11 points to finish off the quarter. Yes, Lauri led the way for Cleveland with 26 points, eight boards, 10-17 from the field and 6-12 from three.
Darius Garland posted 21 points, nine assists, 9-27 at the field and 1-7 behind the arc. I thought the shot selections by Garland weren’t great in this ballgame. To round out the scoring Evan Mobley tallied 18 points, five assists, Caris LeVert 16 points, five assists and Jarrett Allen went in double figures as well and garnered 11 points.
The overall play of Isaac Okoro (six points) (five boards), Kevin Love (three points), (four rebounds) and Rajon Rondo (zero points) games was just nonexistent. Cleveland was 36.1% (13-36) from downtown and 37-81 from the field. Furthermore, the Cavs were able to draw seventeen shooting fouls and they were able to convert on fourteen of those buckets. Cleveland struggled at the glass being outrebounded by the Hawks 42-36. Love was able to give Cleveland a ten-point clip, 44-34, when the three-ball went down.
Meanwhile, Cleveland had trouble dealing with the 38-point scorer in Trae Young, who collected nine assists, 8-9 at the charity stripe and went 13-25 at the field. Bogdan Bogdanovic gave the Hawks 19 points, Danilo Gallinari had 14 points, Kevin Huerter added 13 points and De’Andre Hunter with 10. Look, the Hawks went 20-22 at the line, but they chucked 31 shots from downtown and only hit nine of them going 39-80 from the field. With 7.6 seconds in the first, Young’s step-back shot I felt was a turning point for the Hawks as they trailed, 36-25. Trae closed the deal with six points during that well-executed play.
Atlanta just kept on coming.
Give them credit because they look like they were out of this game early on!
Trae Young just had the answers and made sure the Hawks didn’t squander the lead.
Lucky number 13 went the Hawks’ way! Young’s back-to-back shots with the layup and the jumper from 36 feet away put Atlanta right in front at 77-76 with 1:42 left in the third quarter. LeVert answered Young’s challenge and cracked two jump shots. With that being said, LeVert collected 14 points with less than a minute to go before the fourth quarter sufficed.
Defensively, the Cavs made too many mistakes against Young, by getting good looks and having too many opportunities at the free-throw line. The Hawks were never out of this game and it proved to be true in the end.
What did we learn from this loss?
● That it’s one loss to learn from.
● The Cavs need to be more consistent.
● Don’t get too comfortable with leads in double figures.
● Too many fouls causing the Hawks to get into the bonus shrunk the lead considerably.
● The rotations for Cleveland on both sides of the hardwood need to be improved.
● Time management?
● The energy felt out of sink, especially in the second half of play. I thought the Cavs looked like two different teams out there.
● Cleveland has to close out the game when the odds are in their favor.
● Minutes of play must count and not be wasted.
How will the Cavs recover from this?
Who are some of the players you feel stepped up and had promising seasons?
What players have the most to not only prove, but improve for next season?
We shall all see as the offseason and possible moves for the Cavaliers will start to begin in a matter of time.