The Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers played on Friday night as each team looked to close out 2021 with a win. Each side was fairly shorthanded in this one, with the Hawks still missing 12 players due to health and safety protocols. The Hawks were able to pull out the road victory in this one, beating Cleveland by a score of 121-118.
Skylar Mays was rolling out of the gates with six points in the first quarter. The Hawks still trailed heading into the second by a score of 32-25 due to poor defense, particularly near the rim.
Cleveland was 14-of-18 from the floor in the first quarter and would have likely lead by more if they didn’t turn the ball over six times. The second quarter was very similar to the first with the Hawks allowing the Cavaliers to shoot 14-of-22 for the quarter on their way to a 66-51 halftime lead. Cleveland was 28-for-40 (70%) overall in the first half, with a dominant 42 points in the paint before halftime.
Kevin Love had 16 first-half points off the bench for the Cavs, while Jarrett Allen (12) and Evan Mobley (10) also reached double digits in scoring before the break. Mays paced the Hawks with 13 first-half points, with Trae Young scoring ten to go with four first-half assists.
One other note from the first half, Cam Reddish left the game with an ankle sprain and did not return.
Young ignited after the break, scoring 12 points and racking up seven assists in the third quarter alone. The Hawks outscored Cleveland 40-22 in the period, and took a lead to the fourth. Clint Capela was +18 with eight points and nine rebounds in just the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth affair and the Atlanta defense waned a bit yet again. The Cavaliers could not slow down Young, however, as the star guard finished with 35 points and 11 assists, leading the Hawks to the win.
Young hit a big three-pointer late in the fourth, then a pair of free throws to close out the narrow win.
Capela finished with 18 points and 23 rebounds, which was a huge effort vs. a very good Cleveland frontcourt. Mays finished with 19 points. Love led the Cavaliers with 35 points, while Allen scored 21 in the loss.
The Hawks are scheduled to be back in action Monday as they continue their road trip vs. the Portland Trail Blazers.