Trae Young scored 32 of his 38 points in the second half and the Atlanta Hawks outscored losing center Clint Capela to a knee injury to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-101 in the playoffs on Friday night and win the seed of playoff No. 8 of the Eastern Conference. .
Young started slowly for the second straight game, but “Ice Trae.” as it is believed, warmed up when it was most important.
The All-Star guard scored 16 points in the third quarter to reunite the Hawks from a 10-point deficit at halftime, and added another 16 in the fourth to end the Cavs, as their inexperience showed in the second half. .
Bogdan Bogdanovic added 19 points for Atlanta, who will play in the first round in Miami, the first round. Game 1 is Sunday in South Florida.
The Hawks, who reached the conference finals a year ago, may have to move on without Capela. The 6ft 10in center hyperextended his right knee late in the first half, had to be helped off the floor and could not return.
Lauri Markkanen scored 26 and Darius Garland 21 for the Young Cavaliers, whose unexpected season fell just short of a playoff spot.
Cleveland hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2018, and the Cavs haven’t been in the postseason without LeBron James on their roster since 1998.
As if to add insult to injury, James tweeted an emoji of an ice cube in the closing seconds – a nod to Young – as the Hawks finished the Cleveland season.
Raised by a turbulent crowd, which was shaking towels at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, the Cavs were in a position to advance and play well on long stretches. However, Cleveland’s offense got mixed up in the third quarter, and the Cavs had no defensive response for Young.
As the last few seconds passed, Young said goodbye as the Cleveland crowd thinned out and headed for the exit.
Those who hailed the Cavs, who weren’t expected to get that far after winning just 22 games last season. While they’ve been relegated to the lottery and lost since James left after a four-year run to the NBA Finals four years ago, the future in Cleveland is bright.
With the season on the line, Cleveland has had a huge emotional and defensive facelift since the return of center-back All-Star Jarrett Allen, who had missed the previous 19 games with a broken finger on his left hand. Allen finished with 11 points.
The Hawks were in big trouble at the end of the third quarter, when Young finally warmed up.
Ignoring some vulgar songs from Cleveland fans, the dazzling guard made a pair of three-pointers and scored Atlanta’s last 12 points in the fourth while the Hawks closed out a 17-8 run over the last 3:48 for league 84-all. in the last 12 minutes.
Markkanen made four three-pointers and Cleveland hit six long-range shots in the first 12 minutes to open up an 11-point lead after one.
Atlanta helped with some sloppy play and made seven turnovers, four from Young.
But once he started taking care of the ball, and making the shots, there was no stopping him.
New Orleans Pelicans 105-101 Los Angeles Clippers
A franchise player out for the season. A first year coach. Departure 1-12. The New Orleans Pelicans have overcome everything and are back in attack to make the playoffs.
Brandon Ingram scored 30 points and the Pelicans gathered a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-101 in a play-off on Friday night and win the No. 8 seed in the West. .
“That win was great,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said.
New Orleans took a 16-point lead in the first half and didn’t take the lead forever until the final four and a half minutes of the game.
“It was an emotional game, a ton of ups and downs,” Green said. “But for us, our mentality is to keep fighting. Let’s not get carried away.”
The Pelicans made it to the playoffs for the first time since 2017-18, led by Green, a former Clipper. They have been without Zion Williamson all season due to a foot injury.
“Starting at 1-12 and 3-16, do you think when he’ll pick you up?” said rookie Trey Murphy. “Being my freshman year, I’m not what I win. Look at us now.”
CJ McCollum added 19 points and Larry Nance Jr. he had 14 points and 16 rebounds for New Orleans, playing at No. 1 Seed Phoenix in the first round. Game 1 is Sunday in the desert.
“This team is resilient,” said Nance, who was traded with McCollum from Portland in February. “They started 1-12. It’s so hard to pick yourself up. I’ve been in seasons like this, it’s hard to keep going and keep fighting for him.”
The Clippers were dealt a huge blow before the day Paul George entered the league’s health and safety protocols. They had already been without Kawhi Leonard all season while recovering from an ACL injury. He watched from the bench before the game.
Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson each had 27 points for the Clippers.
The Pelicans shot 57% in the first half and were better on the tables, in the paint and off the bench. They led by 16 in the second quarter before the Clippers cut their deficit to 56-46 at halftime.
The Clippers roared in the third, beating the Pelicans 38-18. They opened with a 20-2 run that had the crowd on their feet. Jackson scored 10 points and Morris added six in the spurt.
Robert Covington started third in place of seven-footer Ivica Zubac and his three-point play gave the Clippers a 75-62 lead, their biggest of the game.
Ingram scored five of the Pelicans ’last 12 points to send them into the fourth 84-74.
“Just have faith in each other and stay connected,” Green said of the Pelicans ’mentality. “We know we took his best shot and we’re only 10 to go in the fourth.”
This is where New Orleans organized its own event.
After the Clippers scored to climb by 13 points, the Pelicans escaped 11 straight points and after McCollum picked up a triple to tie, 88-all.
Murphy hit his second triple of the quarter for another 94-all tie.
That sparked a 10-0 run that gave the Pelicans a 101-94 lead, capped by Murphy’s three-pointer that bounced on the rim and it in. He was one of three rookies who contributed.
The Clippers closed out two in two in the final 1:17, but missed 2 of 4 free throws and Jackson and Morris missed shots on goal to see their season slip away.
The Clippers, who made it to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history last year, also missed Luke Kennard. The league’s three-point lead didn’t play because of a bad hamstring that kept him out of the loss to Minnesota on Tuesday in the team’s first game of the season.