Hawks pull away in 1st half, rout Cavaliers 136-119

Atlanta Hawks interim head coach Joe Prunty, left, talks with guard Trae Young during the...
Atlanta Hawks interim head coach Joe Prunty, left, talks with guard Trae Young during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)(John Bazemore | AP)
Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 10:29 PM EST
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(AP) - Trae Young scored 34 points and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 136-119 on Friday night in their first game under interim coach Joe Prunty.

Dejounte Murray had 15 of his 25 points in Atlanta’s high-scoring second period.

Darius Garland led the Cavaliers, who suffered their third straight loss, with 33 points. Donovan Mitchell had 19.

The Hawks played their first game since coach Nate McMillan was fired on Tuesday. The team had three practices, including a shootaround session on Friday morning, under Prunty, who had been McMillan’s lead assistant.

General manager Landry Fields said Wednesday that former Utah coach Quin Snyder is a candidate to replace McMillan. Snyder could be hired to take over the team this season.

Atlanta held its big lead of 32 points for the last time at 103-71 late in the third quarter before Cleveland pulled to within 13 points at 108-95 in the final period. Atlanta then reclaimed its momentum.

Murray missed his first five shots before making his next seven in the second period. The Hawks’ 49 points in the period were their most in any quarter this season. They led 81-57 at halftime, setting another season-high mark for points in an opening half.

Saddiq Bey, acquired by Atlanta from Detroit on Feb. 9 as part of a three-team trade with Golden State, had 19 points while starting at power forward as a fill-in. John Collins (concussion protocol) did not play.

The Cavaliers, fourth in the Eastern Conference at 38-25, have good motivation to earn home-court advantage in the postseason. They fell to only 13-18 in road games to offset their 25-7 mark at home.