Hawks win fifth straight for first time since 2016 season

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) goes up against Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) for the opening tipoff Sunday, March 14, 2021, at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. (Ben Gray/AP)

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Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) goes up against Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) for the opening tipoff Sunday, March 14, 2021, at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. (Ben Gray/AP)

With a dominant fourth quarter, the Hawks beat the Cavaliers, 100-82, Sunday at State Farm Arena.

Next up, the Hawks play in Houston Tuesday.

Below are some takeaways from the win:

1. This marks the Hawks’ first five-game winning streak since the 2016-17 season, when they won seven straight from Dec. 28, 2016-Jan. 10, 2017. That was the last year they made the playoffs.

2. Before the game, interim head coach Nate McMillan acknowledged that the Cavaliers (14-24) have had the Hawks’ number this year, and they would need to play a full 48 minutes to rectify the situation.

In their two prior losses to the Cavs this season, the Hawks crumbled late, held to 35 points in the second half of a 96-91 loss Jan. 2 and gave up a wide-open dunk in the final seconds of a 112-111 loss Feb. 23. In fact, the Hawks had lost four straight games to the Cavs, dating back to December of last season. They finally righted the ship in Sunday’s win, and did so with a huge fourth-quarter performance.

3. The Hawks (19-20) were up three after an ugly first half and led by three going into the fourth quarter before breaking the game open with a 20-2 run to start the final period. They outscored the Cavaliers 31-16 in the fourth, shooting 62.5% from the floor (10-16), 80% from 3-point range (4-5) and 87.5% from the line (7-8), cruising to a blowout victory.

Late surges have helped the Hawks to several wins lately, the complete opposite of fourth-quarter collapses that plagued them for much of the season’s first half.

“We’ve played this team well for 24 minutes, 36 minutes, but we haven’t played a 48-minute game and tonight we wanted to put together a 48-minute game and finish,” McMillan said.

4. Going against a big Cleveland team, the Hawks were missing centers Clint Capela (heel pain) and Onyeka Okongwu (right adductor soreness).

Rookie Nathan Knight, who is on a two-way contract, filled in and finished with a career-high 16 points, to go with nine rebounds, and was a plus-17 in 23 minutes. The Hawks also got great performances from John Collins (game-high 22 points, 12 rebounds for a double-double) and Danilo Gallinari (20 points, five rebounds), who started in Capela’s place.

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Atlanta Hawks forward Bruno Fernando (24) wraps up Cleveland Cavaliers center JaVale McGee (6) during the first half Sunday, March 14, 2021, at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. (Ben Gray/AP)

Credit: Ben Gray

Atlanta Hawks forward Bruno Fernando (24) wraps up Cleveland Cavaliers center JaVale McGee (6) during the first half Sunday, March 14, 2021, at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. (Ben Gray/AP)

Credit: Ben Gray

Combined ShapeCaption
Atlanta Hawks forward Bruno Fernando (24) wraps up Cleveland Cavaliers center JaVale McGee (6) during the first half Sunday, March 14, 2021, at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. (Ben Gray/AP)

Credit: Ben Gray

Credit: Ben Gray

Kevin Love started for Cleveland but exited early with calf pain. Despite Cleveland’s size, the Hawks held them to 36 points total in the second half, only 12 of which came in the paint.

5. In his fourth game back from injury, Bogdan Bogdanovic finished with 12 points off the bench and looked like he was starting to find his footing again, adding four rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes. Bogdanovic suffered an avulsion fracture to his right knee Jan. 9 and missed 25 games.

It’ll take time for him to get back to 100%, but it seems he’s finding more of a rhythm, with this being his first time hitting multiple 3′s (2-4) since returning.

Stat of the game

55-46 (the Hawks easily won the rebounding battle, despite missing Capela)

Star of the game

Knight (two-way rookie who dominated with a career-high 16 points, bringing energy to the team)

Quotable

“Growing up, the NBA was a dream of mine, and I’m here now. As a rookie, as an undrafted rookie, the mindset is to stay ready.” (Knight on his attitude in games)