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Hawks down Cavaliers 100-82, win fifth straight

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks (19-20) took on the Cleveland Cavaliers Sunday evening in an effort to sweep the home back-to-back and extend their winning streak to five games. Atlanta beat the Sacramento Kings by a score of 121-106 Saturday evening behind a balanced attack.

The Hawks were able to control this game as well, taking home the 100-82 win on the heels of a strong fourth quarter run. It was a closely contested game through three quarters, but Atlanta went on a huge run to start the final period, providing enough separation for them to coast to their fifth consecutive victory.

The first period was rather up-and-down, as Atlanta led by as many as 11, but the Cavs rallied and trailed by just four points heading into the second.

Danillo Gallinari, who started in place of Clint Capela (left heel pain), led all scorers with 10 first quarter points. The absence of Capela was evident early as Cleveland had 16 points in the paint in the first 12 minutes.

Atlanta was winning the rebound battle at the half, but the Cavaliers had 14 more paint points in the second quarter, giving them 30 of their 46 first half points in that area before the break.

The second quarter, like the first, was played at a slow pace and fairly competitive. Trae Young had nine points and four assists in the first half, making both of his field goals in the second period. John Collins had a strong first half, totaling 13 points and 9 rebounds.

Atlanta led 49-46 after two quarters, despite shooting just 39.5% from the floor. They shot 14 free throws in the first half, making 13 of them, while Cleveland was just 3-of-9 from the line before the break. The Hawks also out scored the guests 18-9 from behind the three-point line in the first 24 minutes of play.

The third quarter was another slow paced affair, with each team scoring just 13 points in the first 8+ minutes of play.

Nathan Knight continued his strong play in the third, totaling 12 points, five rebounds and two blocks through three quarters.

It wound up a 20-20 tie for the period, as the Hawks led 69-66 heading to the fourth. Atlanta held the Cavs to just 5-of-20 shooting in the quarter, continuing the strong defensive effort. The Hawks did benefit from Cleveland’s continued poor free throw shooting, as the Cavaliers missed five more free throws in the third, making them 10-of-21 for the game. Most of those misses belong to Jarrett Allen, who was 5-of-12 from the line heading to the fourth.

Knight started the fourth-quarter scoring as well, getting to the free throw line twice for four more points early in the fourth, scoring his season-high of 16 points with 10:53 to play.

Atlanta went on a 10-0 run in the first 1:51 of the fourth, giving them a 77-66 lead with 10:09 to play.

The run was extended to 22-2 over the next few minutes, with Cleveland scoring just two points in the first 6:15 of the fourth quarter. The Hawks led 89-68 with 5:18 to play.

Atlanta would hold the lead, taking home the 100-82 win to extend their winning streak to a fifth game. Collins led all scorers with 22 points to go along with a game-high 13 rebounds, while Gallinari scored 20 points in his 28 minutes.

Young finished with 14 points and six assists, as he was resting when the Hawks pulled away in the fourth and didn’t need to do much down the stretch. Knight finished with a career-high 16 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1 steal. Bogdan Bogdanovic finished with 12 points.

Collin Sexton led the Cavaliers with 15 points in what was an anemic offensive performance for the visitors.

The last time Atlanta won at least five games in a row was a 7-game winning streak from Dec. 28, 2016 through Jan. 10, 2017.

Atlanta will now travel west for one game vs. the Houston Rockets, who have lost 15 straight games, on Tuesday evening.