Mitchell scores 40 as Cavaliers finish In-Season tourney play with 128-105 win over Hawks | News, Sports, Jobs

Mitchell scores 40 as Cavaliers finish In-Season tourney play with 128-105 win over Hawks | News, Sports, Jobs

CLEVELAND — Donovan Mitchell scored 40 points, Evan Mobley added 17 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, and the Cleveland Cavaliers completed pool play in the NBA In-Season Tournament with a 128-105 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.

The Cavs finished 3-1 and in second place in East Group A. They had to win to have any chance of capturing a wild-card entry, but needed four other teams to lose and ultimately fell short of advancing by point differential.

Still, the Cavs are getting healthy and Mitchell had his best performance (14 of 25, 11 rebounds) in weeks and did it in a meaningful game — by regular-season standards.

Cleveland’s Darius Garland added 19 points.

De’Andre Hunter scored 18 for the Hawks, who went 1-3 in the tourney. Trae Young added 13 on 3-of-14 shooting and had 10 assists.

Mitchell came in just 8 of 35 from the floor in his last two games after missing four straight with a strained hamstring.

He started slowly again before hitting a 3-pointer from 41 feet at the buzzer to end the first quarter. Although the basket got waved off, the shot seemed to spark Mitchell, who scored 10 in the second to help the Cavs erase a 12-point deficit.

Cleveland went on a 17-2 run capped by Mobley’s 3-pointer and dunk off a feed from Mitchell to take a 64-61 halftime lead.

The Cavs pushed their lead to 15 in the third quarter before the Hawks used a 13-2 spurt to get within 90-85.

But Georges Niang hit a 3-pointer and Garland knocked down two in the final minute to put Cleveland ahead 102-90 entering the fourth.

With his down by 20 points, Atlanta coach Quin Snyder pulled his starters with 3:54 left. However, Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff stuck with his first team the rest of the way, hoping Cleveland could open an even bigger lead to advance.

Because of the uncertainty — 16 teams were still in contention — and uniqueness heading into the final night of pool play, Bickerstaff said an unspecified staff member would monitor the other games in progress in case point differential came into play.

“We got a plan going into it and a number we think we have to get to,” said Bickerstaff, who would not divulge the number. “We want to win the game.”

Bickerstaff acknowledged there was early skepticism about the tournament, but believes players, coaches and fans have embraced it.

“I give the league a ton of credit because it’s masterful what they’ve done,” he said. “Our fans now care what’s happening in Milwaukee and Miami and Brooklyn and New York and Charlotte. They’re watching those games tonight or watching the scores.”


Hawks: At San Antonio on Thursday.

Cavaliers: Host Portland on Thursday.

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