April 14, 2024

What We Learned: Cavs vs Hawks

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The Cavaliers traveled to Atlanta on Friday night to face the 1st place Hawks. The Cavs got off to a bad start, and it cost them in the end. Here’s what we learned from the Cavs 9 point loss.

Cleveland can’t afford to come out flat. There’s no excuse for being down by 15 after the 1st quarter. You can’t do that against a team that’s 49-12 and expect to win. Slow starts haven’t plagued the Cavs all year, but it’s not something they can do against good teams.

The Cavs defense still has issues. The Hawks shot 51% from the field and had 6 players score in double figures. Cleveland’s defense has been much better recently, but they showed on Friday night they aren’t perfect. Hopefully this won’t be an issue in the playoffs.

Kevin Love has an identity crisis. Love can’t take 10 of his 11 shots from behind the arc. Love is a great 3 point shooter, but that’s not the best part of his offensive game. The offense needs to do a better job of getting him touches on the elbow or in the low post. Love needs to stop trying to be James Jones. That’s not his game. He needs to go back to being Kevin Love. PLAY YOUR GAME!

LeBron needs to do a better job of protecting the ball. There’s no excuse for having 9 turnovers. That’s just careless basketball. You can’t have that from your primary ball handler against a great team. It doesn’t matter that you have 8 assists if you have 9 turnovers. C’mon LeBron, you’re better than that.

The Cavs can get killed in the paint. They were outscored in the paint 54-24. Al Horford put up 19 points against Timofey Mozgov. This was a game that I would’ve liked to have seen Kendrick Perkins used. I know he’s still getting acclimated to the team, but he needs minutes. Perkins is a veteran that knows how to defend the paint. At the very least he would’ve made the Hawks earn it at the line. Perkins didn’t play a minute on Friday night.

The Hawks are still the best team in the East. There’s a reason Atlanta is 49-12. They’ve been excellent all season. We need to get out of the mindset that the Cavs are just going to walk to the Finals. I believe the Cavaliers are more skilled, but that doesn’t mean anything. Right now Atlanta is the better team. The Hawks aren’t unbeatable, but they demand respect.

Player of the Game: Al Horford (19/6/9)

The Cavs will be back in action Saturday night against the Suns. Let’s see if we can bounce back quickly from this loss.

Jackson Flickinger

pic credit Cleveland.com

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