Cavaliers finally end season-opening slide, beat Hawks
CLEVELAND — Rodney Hood scored a season-high 26 points, Cedi Osman added 20 and Cleveland ended its six-game losing streak to start the season, beating the Atlanta Hawks 136-114 on Tuesday night in the Cavaliers’ first game since coach Tyronn Lue was fired.
The Cavs came in as the NBA’s only winless team, and Lue paid the price for club’s slow start.
But with Larry Drew serving as Cleveland’s “acting” coach while he tries to get the team to restructure his contract, the Cavs played a complete game — Cleveland had seven players in double figures — and avoided their first 0-7 start since 1995-96.
George Hill and rookie Collin Sexton scored 17 apiece, and Tristan Thompson had 13 rebounds for Cleveland.
Rookie Trae Young scored 24 and Alex Len 22 for the Hawks. Young scored a season-high 35 against the Cavs on Oct. 21, wrecking their home opener.
The Cavs played their third straight game without forward Kevin Love, who could miss several weeks with a painful left toe injury that has bothered him since the preseason opener. The five-time All-Star said doctors are still trying to decide the best course of treatment, and to this point he has not been told he’ll need surgery.
Until Love’s back, the Cavs will have to replace his 19 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. Someone needs to pick up the scoring slack, and Hood could be the guy.
He struggled after coming over to Cleveland at the trading deadline from Utah and never found his groove. But against the Hawks, he attacked the basket and knocked down all four 3-pointers. He came in 2 for 15 behind the arc.
For the first time this season, Cleveland had a halftime lead and the Cavs never let up, scoring 41 in the third quarter and 78 after halftime.
Hawks: F Taurean Prince fouled out with six minutes left. … Atlanta made 15 3-pointers. The Hawks dropped a franchise-record 22 shots from deep on their previous visit. … Young entered the game second among rookies in scoring average (18.3) and first in assists (7.0). Young became the eighth first-year player to record 35 points and have 11 assists when the teams met earlier. … Played back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Cavaliers: Sexton added eight rebounds and three assists. … Drew said he’ll consider playing Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. together. It’s an experiment with a pair of big men that would come with risks. “One of them guys is going to have to make some shots,” Drew said. “But I wouldn’t completely rule it out.” … F Kyle Korver reached 11,000 career points.
The Cavs will host the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, a person familiar with the selection told The Associated Press.
The league will make the announcement later this week. Cleveland submitted a bid to host an earlier event, but ongoing construction at Quicken Loans Arena made that impossible.
Cleveland last hosted the All-Star Game in 1997, when the league honored its Top 50 players.
Hawks: Host Sacramento on Thursday.
Cavaliers: Host Atlanta on Thursday.
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