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You often hear that one of the best things about the NBA is that you can wash the taste of a bad performance out of your mouth quickly. And the Cavs did just that on Wednesday night.
It was just a preseason loss, but Tuesday night’s drubbing in Chicago still left a mark. Cleveland came out with a different attitude in the second half of their road back-to-back – hanging on to top the Hawks, 99-96, at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
After not leading for a single second in Chicago, Wednesday’s thriller featured 12 ties and 10 lead-changes.
After a back-and-forth start to the fourth quarter against the Trey Young-less Hawks, Ricky Rubio’s floater with 5:20 to play gave the Wine and Gold a two-point advantage. Cleveland would eventually extend it’s lead to nine before the Hawks cut it to one, 93-92, with 1:27 to play. But Darius Garland, Collin Sexton and Isaac Okoro were perfect from the stripe down the stretch – and rookie Evan Mobley was a force in the middle, as the Cavs stiffened down the stretch.
Playing in his hometown, Collin Sexton led Cleveland with 19 points on 7-for-17 shooting, adding six boards and a pair of assists.
Darius Garland added 15 points, going 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, adding a game-high seven assists and a steal.
Jarrett Allen and Isaac Okoro finished with a dozen points apiece – with Allen going a perfect 8-of-8 from the line and leading both teams with three blocks and Okoro leading the Wine and Gold with three steals.
Lauri Markkanen led Cleveland’s reserves with 11 points, going 5-of-7 from the floor, while Ricky Rubio finished with eight points and six assists while recording a game-best +16 in 23 minutes of work off the bench.
And then there’s the Cavs top pick from this past Draft, Mobley, who got credit for two blocks but altered many more and led both teams with 12 boards, three off the offensive class, to go with eight points.
The Cavaliers held the Hawks to 40 percent shooting and took 13 more free throws, and after committing 14 turnovers before intermission had just eight miscues in the second half.
Atlanta’s Cam Reddish led all scorers on Wednesday – finishing with 20 points on 7-for-17 shooting, including 4-of-8 from long-distance, adding a game-high five steals in the loss.
Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.
Evan Mobley puts on a show in the first half in Atlanta, with two ally-oop dunks, and one where he does it himself in the paint.
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.