The losing skid for the Cavs comes to a screeching halt with a victory over the Hawks

Rodney Hood played his best game as a Cavalier, leading the team with 26 points.

Dan Menningen
October 31, 2018 - 1:00 am
Oct 21, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Alex Len (25) and guard Jeremy Lin (7) block the shot of Cleveland Cavaliers guard Rodney Hood (1) during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena.

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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The first time is always the hardest in most things in life, but the first win of the Cavs 2018-2019 season seemed like they had done it hundreds of times before.

The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Atlanta Hawks 136-114 to get their first win of the season and their first win under acting head coach Larry Drew.

Rodney Hood played his best game as a Cavalier; as he led the way with 26 points, chipped in three assists and was perfect from 3 point range going 4-4. 

“I felt like I was getting back to myself a little last game,” Hood says. “I got into a bit of a rhythm and it carried over into this game. I got a lot of work in and just kept grinding, I know a game like this was bound to happen if I just stayed with it. 

Hood may have been the leading scorer, but he was helped along the way by the rest of the team as seven different Cavaliers scored in double figures and seven different guys had three or more assists. Cedi Osman added 20 points and 5 rebounds and Tristan Thompson chipped in 11 with game high 12 rebounds.

“I think we just played with a sense of urgency,” George Hill says after adding in 17 points and 3 assists. “I think guys just started demanding a little bit more, moved the ball better on offense and communicated better on defense.”

The communication on defense showed as the Cavs were able to turn the Hawks over 22 times and get 13 steals from playing the passing lanes of the Hawks. The Cavs were then able to translate those steals into easy fast break points, especially in the third quarter when Sam Dekker was able to get a steal that turned into an easy layup. The next possession, George Hill was able to grab a steal that lead to a transition dunk. The effort was evident on both sides of the ball.

“I am very pleased not only with the outcome of the game but how they played,” Drew says. “I thought they played very unselfishly. I thought they played with energy. I thought they played with intensity and as a coach that’s all you can ask.”

This win makes the Cavs 10-1 in games coached by Larry Drew, who took over for Tyronn Lue last season when Lue was ill. 

“LD has always had a voice, even before, He is a guy who has been through the war and he knows how to put guys in position to be successful,” says Hood.

Jordan Clarkson scored 15 points against the Hawks, making him the only Cavalier to score in double digits in every game this season. Collin Sexton added 17 points, a career high eight rebounds, three assists and a block in 28 minutes of action.

“(Collin) looked way more comfortable tonight, especially down the stretch,” Lloyd Pierce, head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, says. “He was trying to get to the rim. He just looked like he had a little more bounce to him on the offensive end. He is always aggressive defensively, but he had a little more poise and bounce in him offensively tonight.”

KEVIN LOVE UPDATE

Before the game, Kevin Love announced that he will be out for “weeks” as he continues to receive treatment on his left big toe. 

The Cavs All-Star forward said that he will miss at least several weeks as the left big toe that has been bothering him since the preseason has become too cumbersome to continue playing on it.  

"I would like to get back obviously as soon as possible," said Love, "I had high hopes for the season. I know it's been off to a really rocky start, but the more I can be out there and help this team, the better. So I'm hoping to get out there as quickly as possible and hoping that it's only two or three weeks."

The injury had become so severe that Love had trouble walking on it. He also did not rule out surgery if the health of the toe did not improve. 

Love has been in a walking boot for the last few days and has missed the last three games. He attempted to push through the pain for the first four games of the season and while he was averaging 19 points and 13.5 rebounds per game, Love was only shooting 32 percent from the field. Love wants nothing more than to be an asset to this team.

"The only way I'm going to be best for this team is to be healthy, and I haven't been the last month," Love said. "It's disheartening. I want to be out there."

Love signed a five year $120 million contract extension in the offseason and was seen by the team as being a build block for the team moving forward. He has missed 48 games since the 2016-2017 season with injury. 

THREE THINGS I DIG

The Cavs tripled the Hawks in free throw makes. The Cavs were 33-43 at the charity stripe as the Hawks were 11-17. When teams get to the line it shows that guys are getting into the lane for drives. When teams start driving, the drive and kick leads to wide open three point shots. The Cavs were 13-23 from three. Plus, you can’t beat easy points.  

David Nwaba played 8 minutes, scored 2 points, but added 3 rebounds. Every time I watch the guy I love how he hustles and is just relentless on defense and it seems like other guys feed off it as well. FREE NWABA!!!!

 Larry Nance Jr., met with the media after the game wearing a Columbus Crew jersey. He told the media that Gyasi Zardes, forward for the Crew is his guy. Anytime a little soccer can find its way to the NBA, it puts a smile on my face. #savedthecrew

Next game is Thursday November 1 against the Denver Nuggets.