NBA roundup: Hawks and Pelicans make playoffs after tight wins

Cleveland, Ohio - A second-half Trae Young masterclass led the Atlanta Hawks into the NBA Playoffs after a 107-101 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Trae Young starred for the Atlanta Hawks in their win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Trae Young starred for the Atlanta Hawks in their win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.  © USA TODAY Sports

After only scoring six points in the first half, Young had 32 in the second, finishing with 38 points on 13-of-25 shooting (four-of-11 from deep) to go with nine assists.

It was a gutsy comeback from the Hawks, who trailed 28-14 in the first quarter and 49-61 with 30 seconds to play in the first half.

Overall, the Hawks outscored the Cavaliers 56 to 40 in the last two quarters, and after committing seven turnovers in the opening frame, cleaned things up significantly and only committed six more across the next three quarters.

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Cleveland's Darius Garland had a difficult shooting night, finishing nine-of-27 from the field for his 21 points, but he showed excellent command of his side throughout, dishing nine assists, snatching three steals, and finishing with a plus/minus of plus three in his 43 minutes. This means in the five minutes Garland was sitting on the bench, the Cavs were outscored by eight.

The win means the Hawks have earned a seven-game series against the top seed of the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat.

Pelicans survive Clippers comeback

Brandon Ingram (c.) scoring against the Clippers during the Pelicans's win.
Brandon Ingram (c.) scoring against the Clippers during the Pelicans's win.  © USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans survived a massive second-half surge from the Los Angeles Clippers to fight back and win on the road 105-101.

Through the first half, it looked like it would be smooth sailing for the Pelicans as they jumped out to a 56-42 lead with one minute to play in the second quarter.

Los Angeles were without star Paul George after he tested positive for coronavirus, but they found a second wind to start the third period.

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The Clippers started the second half on a 20-to-two run, flipping a 56-46 deficit to a 66-58 lead as Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris started to catch fire.

After being outscored 38-18 in the third term, the Pelicans began the final period trailing 84-74, but it would be their turn to make a run, rallying to tie the game at 88-88 with 7:35 to play.

Brandon Ingram was the star of the show, finishing with 30 points (14-of-21 shooting) with six assists and six rebounds, but the clutch long-range shooting from rookie Trey Murphy III was the catalyst for their surge down the stretch.

Murphy came off the bench and finished with a game-high plus/minus of plus 26 in his 24 minutes, hitting four-of-six threes, including three of them in the last 10 minutes.

Jackson and Morris finished with 27 points each for the Clippers, while the former also added eight assists, seven rebounds, and two steals.

The win means the New Orleans Pelicans will face the Phoenix Suns in a best-of-seven series, beginning on Sunday.

Cover photo: USA TODAY Sports

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