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Cavs Fall to Atlanta, Season Comes to a Close

RECAP

The Wine & Gold fought hard throughout the evening, but fell in the end to the Atlanta Hawks, 107-101, as Atlanta eliminates the Cavs and move on the Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs to take on the Miami Heat. Trae Young finished with a game-best 38 points and most of his damage came in the second half, scoring 32 after half. The Wine & Gold shot 46 percent to Atlanta's 49 percent. Eleven second half turnovers were committed by the Cavs.

All five Cavs starters were in double-figures, but got just nine points from the bench. Lauri Markkanen was the high man for Cleveland, netting 26 points. Darius Garland followed up with 21 points of his own to go with nine assists. In his first game back in action, Jarrett Allen recorded 11 points on 4-4 shooting in 36 minutes of play. Evan Mobley had 18 and Caris LeVert had 16.

Full recap to come.

Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.

WRAP-UP

Trae Young heading into the halftime locker room with just six points was a mixed blessing for the Cavaliers. On one hand, it meant the Wine and Gold had clamped down on Atlanta’s shooting star. On the other, it meant he’d probably heat up after intermission.

Both were true, and Young indeed erupted after halftime – scoring 32 of his game-high 38 points as Atlanta stormed back in the second half, erasing the Cavs early 14-point lead and ending Cleveland’s dream season, taking the 107-101 decision in Friday night’s Play-In game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

The Cavaliers got a huge jolt to start the game with the return of Jarrett Allen, who missed Cleveland’s final 18 games of the regular season with a fractured middle finger on his left hand but gave it a go in Friday night’s do-or-die.

J.B. Bickerstaff’s young squad rode that momentum early, jumping out to an 11-point lead after one period and maintaining an edge throughout most of the first three quarters.

But Atlanta’s aforementioned All-Star started heating up near the end of that third quarter and by the time the fourth rolled around, the game was knotted at 84-apiece and it was toe-to-toe for the final 12 minutes.

Just over three minutes into the fourth, Young hit a short runner to put the Hawks ahead, 88-86, and although the Cavs got to within one on Evan Mobley’s free throw with 1:28 to play, Cleveland never regained the lead.

All five Cavaliers notched double-figures, but got only nine points from the bench in Friday’s loss.

Lauri Markkanen led Cleveland with 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including 6-of-12 from long-range, adding eight boards, a pair of steals and a blocked shot.

Darius Garland followed up with 21 points, but struggled from the floor to get there – finishing 9-of-27 from the floor, including 1-of-7 from deep to go with a team-best nine assists and three steals. On the negative side of the ledger, the 3rd-year pro also committed five miscues on the night.

Evan Mobley was his usual outstanding self on Friday – chipping in 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting, adding eight bords, five assists and two of Cleveland’s four blocked shots.

Caris LeVert – getting the start at the 2 on Friday – added 16 points, going 5-for-13 from the floor, including 4-of-9 from long-distance, to go with five assists, three boards and a steal.

Jarrett Allen rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures – notching 11 points in a noble effort, hitting all four shots he attempted from the floor, adding three boards, a pair of assists and a block.

On the night, Atlanta’s Young went 13-of-25 from the floor, but he was 10-for-14 after intermission – netting 16 points in the third quarter and another 16 in the fourth, going 8-of-9 from the line and handing out a team-high nine assists in the process.

Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.

Play-In tickets for Friday night against the Hawks/ Hornets winner are on sale now! Get yours here.

FEATURED HIGHLIGHT

Darius Garland gets to the hoop and his spot any way he can, showing off his array of handles and moves on the way to score this lay-up.

TURNING POINT

Closing quarters is critical in the NBA, and the Cavaliers could see things start slipping away near the end of quarter number three.

The Hawks had chipped into Cleveland’s advantage throughout the third, but the Cavs still led by nine, 76-67, with 3:48 to play in the period. From there, Atlanta made its run.

Consecutive buckets by De’Andre Hunter and Danilo Gallinari got the Hawks to within four – and from there Trae Young took over, scoring 12 points over the period’s final two minutes, including a pair of bombs from beyond 35 feet, capping the Hawks 19-10 run and putting them in the driver’s seat for the duration.

BY THE NUMBERS

44 … wins that the Wine and Gold piled up this season – doubling their win total form the previous season and reaching the 40-win plateau for the first time sans LeBron James since 1997-98.

The 22-game win improvement was the second-biggest leap in franchise history. This season, Cleveland notched 20 wins against teams over .500 and, maybe most importantly, are the only Eastern Conference team with a winning record whose top three scorers are 23 years old or younger.

QUOTABLE

Coach J.B. Bickerstaff, wrapping up a fantastic season …

”This is the most fun I’ve had since I’ve been in the NBA. This was the most special group of guys that I’ve ever been around, collectively. I have not been around a group of guys that cares so much about each other, care more about the group than any individual accolades or accomplishments. Everything they did the entire year was for the greater good of the team. And it is special to be part of. I’m thankful and appreciative. I didn’t have one bad day with these guys, going to work. Wins and losses, ups and downs, every single day we went work together, we enjoyed each other. And that’s special.”

CALLS OF THE GAME

Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 98.1.

UP NEXT

As the Cavaliers 2021-22 season comes to a close, the Wine and Gold will now look forward to the NBA Draft followed by Summer League followed by Free Agency.

It was an incredible season for the young Cavaliers. And they’re just getting started.