Tuesday night at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse the Cleveland Cavaliers played the Atlanta Hawks in the final In Season Tournament Eastern Conference Group A game. The Cavaliers went into the game at 2-1 in the first-round robin style of the In Season Tournament. They were hoping for a potential Eastern Conference Wildcard berth in the Knockout Round. The Indiana Pacers already won the Group with a 4-0 tournament record. For the Cavs to get a wildcard spot they needed to beat the Hawks and get help. The New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, and Brooklyn Nets all had to lose as well. Or the Cavs had to win the many tiebreakers. They headed into the game with confidence after a big 105-102 win over the Toronto Raptors last Sunday night.
The Cavaliers destroyed the Hawks by a score of 128-105. Both Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley had double-doubles in the game, Mitchell had 40 points and 11 rebounds and Mobley produced 17 points and 19 rebounds. The Cavaliers held the Hawks to 34.7% field goal percentage while the Cavaliers produced a field goal percentage of 53.8%. They needed to win and win big while getting help. Unfortunately, the dominant win was not enough.
Even though they finished the In Season Tournament with a 3-1 record. The Cavaliers were officially eliminated from the 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament. The wildcard spot was earned by the New York Knicks. The Cavaliers 2023 Season will continue while the rest of the In Season Tournament is played. They will play a home and away game next week. On December 6th they host the Orlando Magic then they will travel to Miami to play the Heat on December 8th. The eight remaining teams will play on December 4th and 5th to determine the Final Four of the In-Season Tournament in Las Vegas Nevada. The In-Season Tournament Final Four will begin December 9th. The Cavaliers will learn and move on from this experience.
The point differential tiebreaker was what eliminated the Cavs from the In Season Tournament. Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff said “We had that Detroit game. We had a 16-point lead down the stretch and took our foot off the gas a little bit. That would’ve padded our differential.” Currently, the Cleveland Cavaliers own a 10-8 record and are the 8th playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. The 2023-2024 Cavaliers Season has 64 more games to be played. The season will continue and so will the Cavs.