The Cleveland Cavaliers stunned Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks 101-95 on Saturday to grab their first win of the season.
Collin Sexton continues to be a significant factor for the Cavs early on, but it was Evan Mobley and Ricky Rubio who stepped up to help Cleveland improve to 1-2 on the season.
Notable Player Stats
Ricky Rubio, PG, CLE: 23 PTS, 6 REB, 8 AST, 1 STL
Trae Young, PG, ATL: 24 PTS, 1 REB, 7 AST, 3 STL
Evan Mobley, PF, CLE: 17 PTS, 11 REB, 1 AST, 4 BLK
Cam Reddish, SF, ATL: 19 PTS, 6 REB, 0 AST
Evan Mobley Impresses with Double-Double
2021 third overall pick Evan Mobley is going to be a star.
In just his third game of the season, the 20-year-old recorded a double-double and was arguably the most impressive player on the court against the Hawks.
He had no interest in seeing the Cavs lose their third straight game to open the season, and he was dominant for stretches Saturday night. He was particularly impressive just before halftime and in the second half:
While the Hawks kept things close through two quarters, the Cavs began to pull away in the third. Mobley's performance helped put the Cavs up 83-72 entering the fourth quarter, a lead they never gave up.
The youngster's big night was all the more critical as Cedi Osman and Isaac Okoro had a relatively quiet evening, combining for just 14 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Still, Mobley didn't do it all himself as the Cavs had several big contributors. Sexton, Ricky Rubio and Jarrett Allen were also effective against Atlanta, especially in the second half. They finished with a combined 46 points, 21 rebounds and 13 assists.
If Cleveland wants to continue winning games, they'll need similar performances from Rubio, Mobley and Co. as the season rolls on. The Cavs haven't made the postseason since the 2017-18 campaign, and while they aren't projected to do so this year, things are certainly looking up for the franchise.
Big Performance from Cam Reddish Not Enough
One of the biggest storylines entering the 2021-22 season for the Hawks would be if Cam Reddish would take a step forward this season. After an impressive 20-point performance in Atlanta's season-opener against the Mavericks, Reddish did not disappoint Saturday night.
Aside from Young, the 22-year-old was without a doubt one of the Hawks' best players in Cleveland.
Reddish helped the Hawks keep things close for most of Saturday's game, but he didn't receive much help from anyone not named Young.
Bogdan Bogdanovic played particularly poorly, finishing with just five points, two rebounds and two assists in 27 minutes, while John Collins, Gorgui Dieng and Kevin Huerter were nearly invisible. The trio combined for 15 points, 21 rebounds and four assists.
The Hawks might have had a better chance if Onyeka Okongwu and Danilo Gallinari were available. Okongwu is expected to miss at least three more months after undergoing surgery this summer to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Gallinari is also dealing with a shoulder ailment.
Atlanta can't continue to rely solely on Young if it wants to win an NBA title this season and will need other players to step up to avoid similarly disappointing losses in the future.
Collins told Chris Kirschner of The Athletic before the season that he believes the Hawks are "real contenders" this year, and they have plenty of time to prove it.
The Hawks move on to face the Detroit Pistons at home on Monday, while the Cavaliers will be on the road to take on the Denver Nuggets.