When you smell a final, even if it’s just the “play-in”, the big players respond most of the time present. It is not the Cavaliers who will say the opposite, evoking Trae Young (38 points, 9 assists), the great boss of these brave Hawks.
Author of 30 of his 38 points in the second half, the All-Star point guard was huge on offense to send his team to the playoffs for the second consecutive year (107-101). A success obtained from the start (and in two stages) for Atlanta, which will therefore face Miami in the first round on Sunday night.
For the Cleveland players, on the other hand, it’s obviously time to grimace, because this somewhat vicious setback already marks the end of their beautiful and surprising season. Long ensconced in the Top 6 in the East, the young shooting guard from Ohio collapsed after the All-Star break and will finally have to kiss his playoff dreams goodbye in a way that is both premature and regrettable.
WHAT TO REMEMBER
— amazing brings young. This player is definitely not made of the same material as the others. His 2021 playoff campaign had already shown a propensity for raising his level of play in major events. Their 2022 play-in confirmed this impression. Because the leader of the Hawks loves to play with the air conditioners as soon as the audience is too provocative with him. After the Knicks or the Sixers, it was the turn of the Cavs to savor the show of the insolent “Ice Trae”, unsustainable after the break, either with his 3 points, with his assists or with his floats. A boss game, no more, no less.
— Cruel finish for Cleveland. This group probably didn’t deserve to end their season like this. Blameless and attractive for two-thirds of this 2021/22 financial year, to the point of continuing to be 3rd in the East in the All-Star break, the Cavaliers will not play the playoffs, however. Because the troupe of Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley or even Lauri Markkanen collapsed in the final sprint, relentlessly falling into the dreaded play-in zone. And finally being cold-picked by two more experienced teams, in the space of a few days. However, the future looks bright in Ohio…
— Clint Capela’s injury, Jarrett Allen’s return. The two starting centers of each franchise have had mixed luck today. While the Cavaliers finally found the competition after about a month and a half of absence due to a sore finger, the Hawks had to leave his teammates during the match. Hit in the knee after Evan Mobley fell on him, the Swiss had to immediately return to the locker room, with the help of two of his teammates. Anything but reassuring, two days before the start of the (real) playoffs…
✅ Bogdan Bogdanović. Together with Trae Young, and before it caught fire, the Hawks were first able to count on the essential contribution of their Serbian defense from the bench (19 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals). Accustomed to cleaver matches in Europe, Bogdan Bogdanovic acted as a firefighter on duty in a fiery environment, to allow his team not to be left behind on the scoreboard, when the rest of his team did not put one foot in front of the other. . A solid and decisive performance in the annotation of “Bogi”, like all the substitutes of Atlanta.
✅ Lauri Markkanen. In confidence, the Finn (26 points, 8 rebounds) exceptionally played the role of the Cavaliers’ first offensive option. Like the rest of his teammates, he first showed formidable direction in the 3 points, to launch the local cavalry to a ten-point lead, in this first half that ended with 17 points. The kind of capital performance alongside Darius Garland (21 points, 9 assists, 3 steals) and that he would have deserved a better outcome. Except the Cleveland players came back from the locker room with a completely different face, in the bad sense of the word…
⛔ Cleveland Second Half. On vacation, the Cavaliers risk reflecting for days, if not weeks, on their failed second half. Driven by an atmosphere of madness for a good half hour of play, to the point of counting up to 14 points in advance, JB Bickerstaff’s men then crumbled little by little under pressure from the Hawks. In experience, Trae Young’s teammates therefore derailed the Cavs’ defense (with some award-winning baskets), as well as offering a much better defense, even without Clint Capela.
cleveland : Heading for vacation.
atlanta : trip to Miami, on Sunday night (7:00 p.m.), for Game 1 of the first round.