The Hawks welcomed back Trae Young from an illness that kept him out of the last second win in Miami on Friday night. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, came into Atlanta without the services of Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and others, but they did have a significant rest advantage on the home team.
The Hawks had barely laced up their shoes before Cleveland jumped out to an 10-0 lead — all the points coming in the paint or at the free throw line. Dejounte Murray helped power the Hawks during the cold spell to open the game.
Slowly but surely, the Hawks chipped away at the early deficit. A ‘Bogi’ pull in transition is usually good medicine to take.
Bogi Buckets with the quickness pic.twitter.com/P5sP79WAg6— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) January 21, 2024
After one quarter, the Cavaliers led 25-20.
But the Hawks could not maintain that momentum and Cleveland went on another run to begin the second quarter. With the score 38-26, the Hawks had to regroup yet again and solve the sluggishness they showed on the court to that point.
The Cavs instead began to pour it on, and the scoreline quickly inflated to 54-34 as the halfway point approached. A main culprit was Atlanta’s struggle shooting from behind the arc.
Jalen Johnson did his part to keep the proceedings close in the first half.
Time for your nightly:— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) January 21, 2024
Jalen Johnson Jam pic.twitter.com/pMylqOUiBg
At the midway point, the Hawks found themselves down 59-45. Johnson had tallied 12 points and four rebounds to that point.
After the halftime break, things didn’t get much better. The Hawks had a tough time stringing together stops and went cold from deep on the other end. The Cavs managed to push the lead back to 76-56 at the first timeout of the second half.
The Cavs held the Hawks at arm’s length for the rest of the third quarter, and so the Hawks were in a deep hole heading into the fourth quarter down 93-70.
Atlanta needed a Herculean effort to even make a win a possibility in the last 12 minutes. A Jalen Johnson triple did bring the lead down to 16 with 7:33 left in the game to give Atlanta a little life. But the life was quickly extinguished, and Cleveland rolled to victory, 116-95.
Dejounte Murray finished with 24 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Jalen Johnson added 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists. But Atlanta allowed seven Cavaliers to score double figures and saw Cleveland go 16-for-43 (37%) from deep. The Hawks will now head out west to take on the Sacramento Kings late on Monday night.