Hawks to enter postseason after Trae Young leads with 107-101 victory against Cavaliers
April 17, 2022
The Atlanta Hawks and Trae Young waved an authentic "bye-bye" to the Cleveland Cavaliers as the Hawks earned the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 playoff seed and secured their entry pass to the postseason. After defeating the Charlotte Hornets on April 13, the Hawks’ 107-101 victory against the Cavaliers proved to be impressive.
Cleveland was leading by ten points at halftime, scoring 61-51 against the Hawks. Young, however, turned the tables quickly after going into his "Ice Trae" mode in the second half of the game. He scored 32 points and led the team to a six-point winning margin.
Ice Trae on fire
The All-Star point guard took his time and started in a modest fashion. He only scored six points while shooting 3-for-11 from the field. His opponent, Lauri Markkanen, was knocking Atlanta down as he had wide-open 3-point attempts.
The Cavaliers pushed in seven turnovers against a team that led the regular season with only 11.9 per game. What's worse, the Cavaliers’ power forward Evan Mobley fell on the Hawks’ center Clint Capela’s hyperextended right knee, causing the 6-foot-10 center a considerably serious knee injury. He had to be helped from the floor and had to stay out of the game.
The 23-year-old, however, was able to switch up his "Ice Trae" personae and began his fueled performance in the third quarter, scoring 16 points in an instant.
"He made shots from the jump circle," said the Cavaliers' coach, J. B. Bickerstaff.
Despite the loud cheering for the Cavaliers’ at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Young made a pair of 3-pointers, scoring the final 12 points for the team. The Hawks finished with a 17-8 run over the final 3:48 to tie it at 84-all going into the final 12 minutes. By the end of the third quarter, Atlanta had restarted on the same ground as Cleveland’s.
Young went on aiming for 32 of his 38 points in the second half. Although his team was undermanned, he singlehandedly put that concern away. He managed to score another 16 points in the last quarter and had his spotlight, as he often does when the team is on the road. He knew exactly when to step up, and he scored and assisted on 43 of 56 of his team’s second-half points.
"We took care of business," Young said. "It’s a testament to our team that we kept fighting and finished the job."
"Trae has a great deal of confidence in his game, his ability and he continued to believe," the Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. "I didn’t see any panic in his play. He came out in the second half, remained aggressive. Those shots started to fall, the same shots that he was taking the first half, they started to fall in the second half."
Reactions from the media, LeBron James
This was the first time since 2018 that the Cavaliers got to be in the playoffs; and they have not entered the postseason since 1998 when LeBron James was still on their roster.
However, James did not seem bothered as he gave a well-deserved nod to Young in a tweet of an ice cube emoji he posted during the final seconds of the match.
ESPN sports journalist Mike Greenberg also complimented Young. He said, "Legendary half of basketball from Trae Young, with a season on the line. I will never pick against him again. As clutch as any player in the sport."
The Hawks will be facing the reigning Miami Heat in the first round this Sunday, April 17 at 1:00 p.m. ET on TNT.