Cleveland's NBA season ends in a stinging loss to the playoffs - Lauri Markkanen has 26 points
The Cleveland Cavaliers narrowly bowed to the Atlanta Hawks on their home floor and did not advance to the NBA playoffs.
Lauri Markkanen's first season at the NBA Basketball Club in Cleveland Cavaliers ended in disappointment when Cleveland suffered a 101-107 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at home.
A stinging loss in the decisive playoff qualifier means Cleveland will be ninth in the East and out of the playoffs. Atlanta, who grabbed eighth place in the Eastern Block, will face the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.
Cleveland started the match convincingly and led 36-25 after the opening quarter. Lauri Markkanen immediately became the key player in the opening period, as he succeeded in three of his four three-point throws and scored 11 points.
In the end, Markkanen was the best scorer on his team with a catch of 26 points and eight rebounds.
The second half of the match started with Cleveland leading by 61-51. Atlanta’s Trae Young sank as many as 32 points in the second half of the match and helped his team close the gap in the third quarter. Young scored a total of 38 points in the match.
In the final quarter, it looked like Atlanta was already going to spend, but Cleveland persevered: one and a half minutes before the end, Atlanta led the score to 100-99. The final successes at crucial moments winged the guests to victory with six points.
Cleveland’s final spring was challenging and it lost seven of its last nine matches. The team had to survive without its star center Jarrett Allen, who had been on the sidelines for a long time due to a broken finger. However, Allen’s return and an 11-point balance in the final game of the season didn’t help save Cleveland.
Markkanen had never gotten so close to the playoffs in his career. Markkanen, 25, played in the Chicago Bulls for the first four seasons of his NBA journey, and the team never made the playoffs. This spring's playoff qualifiers were the first in Finland's career. Markkanen moved to Cleveland last summer.