Trae Young's Big 2nd Half Helps Hawks Rally Past Cavs, Clinch East's No. 8 Seed

Erin WalshApril 16, 2022

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young reacts to a foul call during the first half of the team's NBA play-in basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, April 15, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Nick Cammett)
AP Photo/Nick Cammett

Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks are headed to the NBA playoffs for the second straight season after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-101 in the second round of the NBA play-in tournament Friday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Atlanta Hawks @ATLHawks

HAWKS WIN! <a href="https://t.co/xWDNXj1JFP">pic.twitter.com/xWDNXj1JFP</a>

It was an impressive win for the Hawks, who were once again without John Collins and Lou Williams as the two continue to recover from injuries. However, as everyone expected, "Ice Trae" took over, just like he did in Wednesday's play-in game against the Charlotte Hornets. 

Although the Hawks barely made the playoffs this year, they could surprise everyone just as they did last season by reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. That said, here's a deeper look at the win.

Notable Stats

Trae Young, PG, ATL: 38 PTS, 3 REB, 9 AST, 1 BLK

Lauri Markkanen, PF, CLE: 26 PTS, 8 REB, 2 STL, 1 BLK

Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG, ATL: 19 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST, 3 STL

Evan Mobley, C, CLE: 18 PTS, 8 REB, 5 AST, 2 BLK

Danilo Gallinari, PF, ATL: 14 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 1 BLK

Darius Garland, PG, CLE: 21 PTS, 3 REB, 9 AST, 3 STL

Trae Young Leads Hawks to Comeback Win with Epic Second Half

Young got out to a rough start for the Hawks on Friday night, scoring just six points through the entire first half, including a scoreless second quarter.

However, "Ice Trae" came alive in the second half, beginning with a 16-point third quarter before finishing the night with 38 points on 13-of-25 shooting from the floor and four of 11 shooting from deep.

ESPN @espn

Trae Young and the Hawks come storming back in the third quarter.<br><br>This season, the Cavaliers lost 17 games after leading by 10+ points, most in the NBA πŸ‘€ <a href="https://t.co/0viGPDRyFr">pic.twitter.com/0viGPDRyFr</a>

ESPN @espn

ICE TRAE FROM THE LOGO πŸ₯Ά <a href="https://t.co/8kNEDR2sAu">pic.twitter.com/8kNEDR2sAu</a>

ESPN @espn

TRAE YOUNG AND CARIS LEVERT EXCHANGING THREES 🍿🍿🍿 <a href="https://t.co/zqe3unGMb6">pic.twitter.com/zqe3unGMb6</a>

Atlanta Hawks @ATLHawks

FLOAT GAME CLUTCH <a href="https://t.co/apVfmomWnA">pic.twitter.com/apVfmomWnA</a>

It wasn't a surprising performance from Young by any means. The 23-year-old has been the team's best player all season, averaging 28.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 9.7 assists while shooting 46 percent from the floor and 38.2 percent from deep during the regular season.

Perhaps what was more impressive was the fact Young and the Hawks dismantled the Cavaliers without starting center Clint Capela, who was ruled out before the second half after suffering a knee injury.

If Capela is ruled out to begin the first round of Atlanta's matchup against the Miami Heat, Young's job will become significantly more difficult as he will attempt to cut through a lineup that includes Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson.

Danilo Gallinari, DeAndre Hunter and Kevin Huerter did just enough on Friday, but they'll need to play much better and be more consistent against a Miami team that was the best in the Eastern Conference for much of the regular season.

Cavaliers' Frontcourt Impressive in Jarrett Allen's Return, But Effort Not Enough

The return of Jarrett Allen sparked the Cavaliers' frontcourt Friday against the Hawks, and Evan Mobley and Lauri Markkanen were particularly impressive despite the loss. 

After finishing the first round of the play-in tournament against the Brooklyn Nets with just 13 points, Markkanen was one of the best players on the court at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The 24-year-old finished with 26 points and eight rebounds on 10-of-17 shooting from the floor and 6-of-12 shooting from deep in 36 minutes.

Markkanen's performance on Friday highlight's just how important he was to Cleveland's success this year. When he scored at least 20 points this season, the Cavs went 11-7, including Friday's loss.

Mobley was also incredibly impressive against the Hawks, finishing with 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists on six of 12 shooting from the floor and one of three shooting from deep in 37 minutes.

Mobley's performance doesn't necessarily come as a surprise. He has excelled all season and could possibly win Rookie of the Year after averaging 15 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists during the regular season.

Despite falling short, Allen's return is really what sparked things for the Cavaliers. He finished with 11 points, three rebounds and two assists. 

While the trio's performance wasn't enough, there's no doubt they'll come back stronger next season.

What's Next?

The Hawks will move on to face the Miami Heat in the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs.