It’ll be the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks in the final play-in game for the Eastern conference in 2022, with both teams battling for the No. 8 seed in the main playoff bracket. The Cavaliers got here after losing to the Brooklyn Nets in the 7-8 matchup, while the Hawks beat the Hornets in an elimination game to reach this contest. Here’s how the teams match up against each other.
No. 8 Cavaliers vs. No. 9 Atlanta Hawks
Overall record: Cavaliers 44-38
Leading scorer on Cavaliers: Darius Garland
Leading scorer on Hawks: Trae Young
Spread: Cavaliers -1.5
Moneyline: Cavaliers -125, Hawks +105
The Cavaliers made a late charge in the first play-in game against the Nets, but ultimately ran out of clock. Darius Garland showed why he’s a star in the making, so Cleveland has a lot to be hopeful about going forward. If Jarrett Allen is able to return for this game, the Cavaliers can play a more comfortable style with him and Evan Mobley dominating the interior. Those two would make the Cavaliers favorites in this contest.
The Hawks struggled with the Hornets for a bit, holding a 60-52 edge at halftime before going on a massive run in the third quarter. Atlanta’s hot shooting and superior defensive play stymied the Hornets, who flamed out of the 9-10 play-in game for the second straight year. Let’s see if Trae Young and company can pull off one more win to get back into the postseason.