In a 100-82 road loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Cavs were within five points heading into the fourth quarter before scoring a whopping 16 points in the final period. The end result: A 100-82 loss to the Hawks.
Overall, Sunday marked Cleveland’s third straight loss and second straight to start the post All-Star break schedule. It follows up a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans where the Cavs trailed by as many as 40 points.
Collin Sexton led the Cavs with 15 points, but was just 5-17 from the field in one of his worst performances of the season. Darius Garland, in his return to the lineup after dealing with a groin injury, was arguably the Cavs’ best player with a 11-point, 7-assist night.
That designation, though, doesn’t mean much on a night where Cleveland shot under 40% from the field and under 30% from three. By comparison. the Hawks finished above 40% in both categories. Atlanta also finished 24-26 from the free throw line vs. 12-23 for Cleveland. Jarrett Allen in particular struggled, finishing 5-12 from the line.
The fourth quarter, where the wheels came all the way off, saw everything go poorly for Cleveland on both ends. Atlanta pushed its lead up to as many as 25 and shot 62.5% for the quarter. The Cavs, on the other hand, went ice cold and shot 31.6% over the final 12 minutes. In the first 7:28 of the quarter, they scored a whopping 2 points, prompting head coach J.B. Bickerstaff to waive the white flag and pull the starters before Hawks coach Nate McMillan did the same a bit later.
Making matters worse for Cleveland: Kevin Love left the game less than two minutes in with an injury. Per the broadcast, Love “didn’t feel right” and was replaced by Larry Nance Jr. at power forward. His status and the severity of his injury is unclear. He had just returned to action on Friday after playing just two games so far this season.
Up next: The Cavs are off tomorrow before playing the Heat in Miami on Tuesday. The game marks the end of Cleveland’s three-game road trip to start the second half of the season. Tipoff is at 8 p.m.