CLEVELAND -- After a slow start, the Hawks made it a fight despite missing three key rotational pieces, but they fell to the Cavaliers 127-119 at RocketMortgage Fieldhouse on Saturday.

Here are five observations.

1. The Hawks fell behind early, allowing 41 first-quarter points and trailing by 23 points in the second quarter. However, they closed to within 96-90 after Trae Young knocked down a 3-pointer with just under 10 minutes left in the game. In the end, their margin for error was too small.

Despite outscoring the Cavaliers 67-57 in the second half, the Hawks allowed 15 second-chance points, a couple of which came of kickouts to the perimeter after the offensive boards. Back-to-back jumpers from Cavs guard Donovan Mitchell put them up 107-94 with 7:48 to go.

“It’s more about effort and energy and just sometimes giving a (expletive) and that’s just what it is and sometimes that helps your defense,” Hawks guard Trae Young said of the comeback attempt. And I think that’s what we did that third quarter and got us back into the game and cut the lead down. We cut it down to single digits at one point.”

2. Young continued to build off of his strong play over the last few weeks scoring 35 points, to go along with his 10 assists. He looked confident stepping into his shots from deep, draining 7 of 12.

He has scored 30 or more points in eight of his last 10 games and has been efficient from 3, knocking down 42.2% of his 10.5 3-point attempts per game. He has dished out 10 or more assists in six in the same time frame.

He helped Bruno Fernando, who had 13 points, in the pick-and-roll. Young’s feeds to Fernando helped to keep the Hawks afloat early as the Cavaliers made shot after shot early to get out to a 70-52 lead by the end of the first half.

Dejounte Murray had 21 points and De’Andre Hunter had 18 points in his first game back after missing three games.

3. Fernando provided the Hawks with plenty of energy as they greatly missed Clint Capela’s presence in the paint early. The Cavaliers carved the Hawks up inside, scoring 36 points in the paint in the first half, with Jarrett Allen, who had 25 points, scoring 18 of them.

“A hell of a player,” Fernando said of Allen. “He’s a heck of a player. He plays hard, does a lot of great things for them on the floor. They are a much different team when they have him going like that.”

Allen feasted early going a perfect 8-of-8 in the first quarter, scoring a career-high 17 first-quarter points. He had 21 points by the end of the first half as the Cavaliers raced ahead of the Hawks.

But Onyeka Okongwu, who scored 16 points and 14 rebounds, along with Fernando adjusted in the second half. They held Allen to 2-of-2 shooting by trying to keep him out of the restricted area.

4. The Hawks were on pace to score a season-low first quarter points. They collectively scored just six points in the first five minutes as the Cavaliers raced out to a 20-6 lead before Okongwu knocked down a 3 off a kickout from Patty Mills.

But the Hawks shooters got going just enough with six different players making at least one 3. The Hawks went 3-of-5 on corner 3s and 4-of-8 from the top of the key. They couldn’t seem to find a rhythm anywhere else on the floor, going 3-of-10 everywhere else.

5. With Capela (left knee soreness), Bogdan Bogdanovic (right ankle sprain) and Jalen Johnson (left distal radius fracture) all out, the Hawks needed to get creative with the rotation.

They continued to get some productive minutes from Fernando, as well as Garrison Mathews, who has averaged 18 minutes over the last three games. They also looked to Trent Forrest and Mills, who gave them some substantial minutes in their outings against the Raptors.

Stat to know

Cleveland outscored the Hawks on second-chance points 33-9 (+14). It’s a season-high in second-chance points allowed for the Hawks.


“Everybody’s got to be precise with what we’re doing.” -- Hawks coach Quin Snyder on the Hawks navigating the rotational moves.

Up Next

The Hawks host the Pistons, who have lost 23 straight games, on Monday at State Farm Arena.