The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Atlanta Hawks 128-125 on 28 November 2023. Here’s a look at their performance, and which players stood out.
The Cavs went with a starting lineup of Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Max Strus, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.
Although Atlanta got off to an early lead, Cleveland played hard and made them work for their points. The problem was turnovers, two of which came within the first two minutes of the game, and some surprisingly sloppy looking offensive sequences. The first quarter ended in a Cavalier deficit with a score of 33-29.
The second quarter was eventful. The Hawks started to pull away, but the Cavs picked things up in the last few minutes. With every Cav hustling and diving for loose balls, the word that encapsulates their okay thesis quarter is “hustle.” Cleveland ended up going on a 23-10 run to put them up at halftime 61-64.
The Cavs took control of the game in the third quarter, entering the fourth with a score of 90-102. Their chemistry was outstanding this game, looking like a well oiled machine for a few long stretches. Despite the growing lead, JB Bickerstaff didn’t pull the starters in an attempt to qualify for the In-Season Tournament (30+ point differential needed). Cleveland fell short of qualifying for the tournament, but did walk away with a 90-102 victory.
Mobley was effective on both ends of the floor, finishing with 17 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocks. He actually, for the third time in his career, achieved a double-double before halftime.
Donovan Mitchell, looking fully healthy, finished with 40 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block. That’s a plus/minus of plus 29. For the first time this season he gave Cleveland fans one of his signature scoring outbursts. Only 31 shy of his career high.
Strus had an overall productive input, finishing with 11 points, seven assists, three rebounds and two steals and blocks a piece. He’s been an effective contributor, and it’s a good sign that he continues to do so in a fully healthy starting lineup.
Garland had himself a solid night as well, finishing with 19 points, eight assists and two boards. On the other end of the lineup, Allen finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and two assists.
Georges Niang is also really starting to improve as a Cavalier. He finished the night with 12 points, seven rebounds and an assist. Cleveland signed him (primarily) for his shooting ability and that’s started to show. His tendency to let it fly from deep, and with him making it more recently, is causing defenses to have to stretch.
Though Mitchell had an explosive performance, he also had six turnovers. Caris LeVert (10 points, three rebounds and an assist) committed four, and the team committed a total of 16. This team has an impressive ability to score in large outbursts, but they also have a knack for letting their opponents snatch the ball away from them. They’re playing well, but if they want to compete in the East they’re going to have to figure out how to be more secure with the ball.
Featured photo courtesy of NBA.com
“From Our Haus to Your’s”