Two studs, one dud from Cavaliers' blowout win over the Hawks

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers
Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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Dud: Not advancing in the In-Season tournament

Coming into the new NBA season, I said that a goal for the Cavs should be to win their group, and make the knockout rounds of the In-Season Tournament. Unfortunately, the Cavs accomplished neither, as the Indiana Pacers surprised everyone, and won East Group A with a perfect 4-0 record, including a five-point win over the Cavaliers back on the first night of In-Season Tournament games.

To top it all off, the Cavs could not get the East’s wild card spot, as their archnemesis New York Knicks prevented them from doing so. The Knicks beat the hapless Charlotte Hornets by 24 points last night, which eliminated the Cavs from the tournament due to the Knicks having a far and away better point differential of +42. That was bound to happen since they had two of the worst teams in the East in their group: the Hornets, and Washington Wizards, who the Knicks beat by 21.

Donovan Mitchell put it best when he said the Cavs have to focus on the next championship. It sucks that they could not get this one, but now it is all about keeping momentum as they enter the quarter mark of the NBA season. With very winnable games coming up against the Portland Trail Blazers and the league-worst Detroit Pistons, the path is there for the Cavs to turn this two-game winning streak into four and get to 12-8 on the year.

The Cavs had not looked this dominant since their win over the defending champion Denver Nuggets 10 days ago. They have shown flashes throughout the young season of how great they can be. Now, it is all about finding that level of consistency heading into the holiday season. The Wine and Gold seem to be in a good place as the team’s prospects are beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

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