Hawks’ offense goes stagnant; team falls to Cavaliers

The Hawks looked like a team that returned from a long trip. Despite a few bursts throughout the game, though, the Hawks could not maintain solid footing and lost to the Cavaliers 105-99 on Wednesday night in Cleveland.

The Hawks opened with a 24-19 lead by the end of the first quarter, but the Cavaliers woke up in the second quarter off the hot hand of Cedi Osman. The Cavaliers forward made four 3-pointers in the second quarter to break open the outside shooting for his team.

The Hawks held the Cavaliers to 16.7% shooting from long range, but Osman and Darius Garland found their stroke. The two helped the Cavaliers take a 10-point lead by the end of the first half.

The Hawks found their legs coming out of the locker room at halftime and chipped into the Cavaliers’ lead. They tried to attack the paint, as well as lean on John Collins, who found his spots.

Collins scored 10 points in two minutes to cut the Cavs lead to single digits after Cleveland’s blazing-hot second quarter. He ended the night with 15 points, after knocking down three of his five 3-point attempts. Collins also had seven rebounds.

Energized by Collins’ burst, the Hawks tied the score at 65-65 with 4:39 remaining in the third quarter. They stuck with the Cavs until the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.

Hawks’ guard Dejounte Murray, who missed the team’s second exhibition game, in Abu Dhabi, scored 17 points. While guard Trae Young chipped in 14 points and six assists, De’Andre Hunter scored 12 points and five rebounds. Rookie A.J. Griffin scored 11 points and had six rebounds.

The Hawks tried to attack the boards to create offensive opportunities. Despite the presence of Jarrett Allen in the paint, the Hawks out-rebounded the Cavaliers 60-49.

The team had a huge boost from center Clint Capela, who grabbed 15 rebounds before exiting the game with a thumb sprain in the third quarter. Capela got a hand from Jalen Johnson, who had 11 rebounds in his return to the Hawks’ rotation.

Johnson missed the Hawks’ first two exhibition games with a non-COVID illness and aimed to show why he should have a consistent presence.

The Hawks conclude exhibition play Friday when they take on the Pelicans in Birmingham. The two teams tip off at 8 p.m. at the Legacy Arena.