Cavs shoot down Hawks 114-102 
            BY TIM SHIRER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - The Cleveland Cavaliers entered Monday night’s game with the Atlanta Hawks at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse with two straight wins and some momentum. The Hawks came in with a win in their last game. But the Cavs have on their mind the last time the two clubs met when it mattered the Hawks knocked the Cavs out of the play in tournament ending their 2021-22 season. The Cavs did what most thought they were going to do last season by beating the Hawks 114-102.

Kevin Love returned from a one game absence due to a hairline fracture in his right thumb. The teams traded baskets in the first few minutes of the game before the Cavs got hot from three-point range. Cleveland hit three of their first four three-point attempts followed by a jump shot by Jarrett Allen to put the Cavs up 19-11 with 6:42 left in first quarter. Hawks coach Nate McMillan had seen enough and called a timeout before things got to far out of hand. The Hawks cut the lead to 27-22 with 2:53 left in the first quarter when Jalen Johnson knocked down a three. One thing that had not changed early on was the Hawks Trae Young getting ticky tack calls from the officials. Donovan Mitchell finished off the scoring in the first quarter with a driving layup to put the Cavs up 38-26. The Hawks attempted to cut the lead before the buzzer, but Osman played stifling defense by the basket and the ball did not reach the basket. Garland led all scorers with 14 points in the first period. Mitchell also contributed 10 points. Young led the Hawks with 10. The Cavs outworked Atlanta on the boards pulling down 10 to the Hawks seven. Each team took care of the ball well as they each had just one turnover in the first 12 minutes.  

The Hawks cut the lead down to two points at 6:12 of the second when A.J. Griffin hit a jump shot and make the score 45-43. The Cavs responded with a three from Mitchell at 5:58 to extend the Cavs lead to five. After the Hawks responded Robin Lopez who had very positive minutes in the first quarter and now in the second slammed the ball home to give the Cavs a 50-45 lead with 5:07 left on the game clock in the second quarter.  

The second quarter got off to a bit of a slow start as the Cavs did not get their first basket until the 9:26 mark when Mitchell drove the lane and converted a layup to give Cleveland a 40-33 lead. The Hawks cut the lead to 40-37 when Onyeka Okongwu hit a jumper with 8:28 left in the first half. The Hawks led by foul (most of the contact he initiates) magnet Young were not going away. They cut the Cavs led to two points on a number of occasions, outscoring the Cavs 33-26 in the quarter to cut the Cleveland halftime lead to 64-59. Garland led all scorers with 20 in the first half. Mitchell also had 19 for the Cavs. Young contributed 19 for the Hawks lead the team in the first 24 minutes. The Hawks outrebounded Cleveland in the second 10-9, but the Cavs still held the edge in the game at 19-17. Bothe teams turned the ball over seven times in the first half, but the Hawks did a better job of converting them into points outscoring the Cavs in the category 13-8.

As has been the story for a good part of this early season the Cavs could not put the put the Hawks away. In fact, with at the 10:44 mark of the third Griffin drained a three for the Hawks giving Atlanta a 65-64 lead. The Cavs continued to make key mistakes in the third turning the ball over three times in the first 3:23 of the second half resulting in five points which was the margin of the Hawks 71-66 lead at 8:37 of the third quarter. With 6:44 left in the quarter Mitchell hit a three to pull the Cavs to within one point of the Hawks at 74-73. The Cavs tied the game at 76-76 at with 4:24 remaining on a Mitchell free throw and then took the lead 79-76 when Osman was fouled on a shot and drained the free throw with 4:01 left in the game. As bad as tings looked for the Cavs for a better part of the third quarter the Hawks only managed to outscore them 23-21 in the third as the Cavs held an 85-82 lead when the period ended. Mitchell ed everyone with 25 points, Garland was not far behind with 24. Young led Atlanta with 21.

The Cavs extended their lead to 92-85 with 9:43 left in the contest when Lamar Stevens hit a long range three from the corner. He extended the lead to nine points after, and Evan Mobley block Mitchell took the inbound three it to Stevens who took the ball all the way to the hoop giving the Cavs a 94-85 lead and forcing the Hawks to take a timeout with 9:08 left in regulation. The Cavs outscored the Hawks 18-13 in the first 7:08 of the fourth to extend the lead to 103-95 with 4:52 left when Garland switched rolls and laid the ball in from Mobley. The Hawks pulled to with 105-99 with 2:43 left on a five or six step drive through the paint with no dribbling to the basket by Young with no traveling called. After three consecutive possessions were ended by the officials on traveling calls. The Hawks John Collins committed his fifth foul which was ruled a clear path foul to the basket on Osman. Osman converted the two free throws giving Cleveland a 107-99 lead with 2:15 left and the ball. The Hawks opted for a timeout after the free throws. Osman inbounded the ball to Mitchell, Mitchell passed the ball back to Osman and he finished the Hawks off by draining a three from the corner to give Cleveland a 110-99 lead with 2:05 left in the game. Mobley put the final nail in the Atlanta coffin with 1:08 left on a hard dunk assisted by Allen giving Cleveland a 114-99 lead. The Hawks wilted like a flower in a drought down the stretch turning the ball over five times in a stretch of 4:30. When the Cavs dribbled the last :12.3 they had exacted a bit of revenge on the Hawks who ended their season last time they played at RMFH. This time it was the Cavs coming out on top 114-102.

The Cavs had three players over 20 points again. This time Mitchell led the way with 29, followed by Garland with 26 and Osman deposited 23 points hitting the late three to deflate Atlanta. Young led the Hawks with 25 which is not a surprise. What is a surprise is Young only got to the foul line six times, converting only 4 of 6 from the charity stripe.

The Cavs did outrebound the Hawks 36-34. Evan Mobley came one rebound shy of a double double finishing with 10 points and nine boards. Allen led the team with 11 rebounds. Mitchell and Garland each had nine assists to lead the Cavs.

The Cavs will be back in action on Wednesday night against the Portland Trailblazers (10-6) at 7 pm on Wednesday at home. 
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​POSTED 11/21/2022 21:48
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Cavs guard Donovan Mitchell.             Photo by Tommy Shirer