Trae Young scored 32 of his 38 goals in the second half, and the Atlanta Hawks defeated center Clint Capela to a knee injury to clinch victory in the play-in on Friday night, bringing the Eastern Conference's No. 8 playoff seed.
Young started slowly for the second consecutive game, but "Ice Trae," as he fancies himself, is heated up when it mattered most.
The All-Star guard gained 16 points in the third quarter to defeat the Hawks in a 10-point halftime deficit, and added another 16 in the fourth to defeat the Cavs, whose dismal outlook remained throughout the second half.
Atlanta will play No. 1 seed Miami in the first round, thanks to Bogdan Bogdan Bogdanovic. Game 1 is Sunday in South Florida.
The Hawks, who made it to the conference finals a year ago, might have to go ahead without Capela. He hyperextended his right knee late in the first half, had to be aided from the floor and was unable to return.
Lauri Markkanen netted 26 goals, while Darius Garland 21 for the young Cavaliers, who had an unexpected season just short of a playoff spot.
Cleveland hasn't been to the playoffs since 2018, and the Cavs haven't been to the postseason without LeBron James on their roster since 1998.
As the Hawks finished Cleveland's season, James tweeted an emoji of an ice cube in the closing seconds.
The Cavs were in great position to advance and played well in long stretches, but Cleveland's offense was down in the third quarter, and Young had no answer defensively.
As the final seconds ticked off, Young waved goodbye as the Cleveland crowd thinned out and headed to the exits.
The Cavs, who were not expected to win this far after winning just 22 games last season, have been relegated to lottery picks and lost because of James' four-year stint to the NBA Finals. The future in Cleveland is bright.
With the season on the line, Cleveland made a remarkable and defensive comeback from All-Star forward Jarrett Allen, who had missed the previous 19 games with a broken finger on his left hand. Allen scored 11 points.
The Hawks were in big trouble late in the third quarter, when Young finally heated up.
The dazzling guard cleared a pair of 3-pointers and netted Atlanta's last 12 points in the quarter as the Hawks closed with a 17-8 run over the last 3:48 to tie it 84-all going into the final 12 minutes.
Markkanen led four 3-pointers while Cleveland hit six shots from wide in the first 12 minutes to clinch an 11-point lead.
Atlanta was aided with some sloppy play and committed seven turnovers, including one by Young.
But when he started spinning the ball and shooting, there was no help.
Danilo Gallinari added 14 points for the Hawks in four games against Cleveland in the regular season.... Young averaged 32.5 points in four games against the Cleveland Browns.... F/C John Collins (finger, foot, and Lou Williams both sat out.... Committed a league-low 11.9 turnovers per game during the regular season.
Kevin Love missed ten minutes, one in the second half.... Cleveland's 22-win victory was the second greatest in club history. The Cavaliers made a 24-game jump.
In Cleveland, there was an exceptional sports night.
While the Hawks and Cavaliers tallied with a postseason spot, the Guardians played their first home game since changing their names next door at Progressive Field.
On the opening night of the night, the doubleheader resembled 2016 when the Cavs received the NBA title rings, claiming the country's baseball team, then called the Indians, hosted a World Series match.
The Hawks lost 1-0 against Miami during the season.
After an injury-ravaged season, the Cavaliers have had extra time to rest up.
The Associated Press' Tom Withers