(Basketball news) The Atlanta Hawks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-101 in the play-in tournament to earn the Eastern Conference's No. 8 playoff seed and face the Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA playoffs. For the Hawks, Young scored 32 of his 38 points in the second half as Bogdan Bogdanovic added 19 points and Danilo Gallinari added 14 points. For the Cavs, Lauri Markkanen scored 26 and Darius Garland added 21 points as Cleveland hasn't been to the playoffs since 2018, and the Cavs haven't been to the postseason without LeBron James on their roster since 1998. Last year’s Eastern Conference finalist will hope to do one better and win the conference to reach the NBA finals for the first time in their franchise history.
''We took care of business,'' Young said. ''It's a testament to our team that we kept fighting and finished the job.''
''Trae has a great deal of confidence in his game, his ability and he continues to believe,'' Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. ''I didn't see any panic in his play. He came out in the second half, remained aggressive. Those shots started to fall, the same shots that he was taking the first half, they started to fall in the second half.''
''The ball wasn't popping and there was a lot of isolation and standing still,'' Bickerstaff said of his team's troubles after halftime.
''We're headed in the right direction, for sure,'' Bickerstaff said. ''We accomplished a lot this year.''
The New Orleans Pelicans made the playoffs for the first time since 2017-18 as they beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-101. For the Pelicans, Brandon Ingram scored 30 points and the Pelicans rallied from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter as CJ McCollum added 19 points and Larry Nance Jr. had 14 points and 16 rebounds. For the Clippers, Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson each had 27 points as it wasn’t enough to make the playoffs this season. With this result the Pelicans secured the 8th seed in the Western Conference standings and now face the mighty Phoenix Suns in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
''That win was big-time,'' Pelicans coach Willie Green said.
''It was an emotional game, a ton of highs and lows,'' Green said. ''But for us, our mentality is we're going to continue to fight. We're not going to fade out.''
''Starting off 1-12 and 3-16, you're thinking when is it going to pick up?'' rookie Trey Murphy said. ''Being my first year, I don't know what winning is like. Look at us now.''
''This team is resilient,'' said Nance, ''They started 1-12. That's so hard to pick yourself up from. I've been in seasons like that, it's hard to keep going and keep striving for it
“I am disappointed in us not being able to make the playoffs, no matter who was playing,'' said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue
''Just having faith in each other and staying connected,'' Green said of the Pelicans' mindset. ''Knowing we took their best shot and we're only down 10 going into the fourth.''
The playoff matches tomorrow are:
- Mavericks vs Jazz
- Grizzlies vs Timberwolves
- 76ers vs Raptors
- Warriors vs Nuggets