GameDay Preview: Cavs at Hawks

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Alonzo Gee
Scott Cunningham/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold face the Atlanta Hawks tonight at 7:30 p.m. for the first of three regular season contests in 2013-14.

The Cavaliers (6-12) are coming off back-to-back wins with their most recent victory over the Denver Nuggets, 98-88, on Wednesday at The Q.

Atlanta (10-10) enters tonight's game looking to move back above .500 following an impressive 107-97 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. Paul Millsap bucketed a team-high 25 points while Al Horford added 21 for the Hawks, who had lost two straight and five of six.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - C.J. Miles, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Andrew Bynum

Hawks: PG - Jeff Teague, SG - Kyle Korver, SF - DeMarre Carroll
PF - Paul Millsap, C - Al Horford

Injuries: (Cavs) - None to Report

(Hawks) - None to Report

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

Last season, the Cavs and Hawks split their four-game series, 2-2, as each team won on the opponent’s home floor.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 95-111 against Atlanta (60-45 Home, 35-66 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Defensive Intensity

Cleveland held Denver to 88 points on 36-92 (.391) shooting from the field to improve to 3-0 when holding foes to under .400 shooting.

The Cavs also blocked a season-high 13 shots on Wednesday, their most since March 16, 2004 (13 versus Chicago). The Wine and Gold already have four games this season with 10 or more blocks, which is twice as many as the team had in 2012-13.

If the Cavaliers can bring defensive intensity, they give themselves a great opportunity to steal a road win. Atlanta had failed to score 100 points in seven straight games before doing so in their last three.

Key Matchup

Frontcourt Battle

With free agent acquisition, Paul Millsap, Atlanta boasts one of the more talented starting frontcourts in the NBA.

Millsap is averaging 21.0 points and 11.0 rebounds in the last three games (two double-doubles).

Joining Millsap in the frontcourt is former All-Star, Al Horford. Horford has scored in double-figures in all 20 games this year, tying the longest streak to open a season in his career (20 in 2012-13).

Looking to slow down Atlanta's big will be the Cavaliers frontcourt trio of Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao and Andrew Bynum.

In Wednesday’s victory, Thompson posted his team-leading 9th double-double of the season (49th career) with 17 points, a career-high 21 rebounds and a season-high tying three blocks in 34 minutes.

Varejao recorded his fourth double-double on the season (76th career) in Wednesday’s win over the Nuggets after finishing with 18 points on 7-9 (.778) shooting, 13 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a season-high tying three blocks in 28 minutes off the bench.

Over the last two games, Bynum is averaging 17.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.0 blocks in 25.0 minutes per game.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM & Sirius 219

For live in-game updates, follow @cavs, @CavsJoeG, @CavsFredMcLeod, @MrCavalier34, @CavsJMike and @chones22 on Twitter.

Be sure to check cavs.com for Joe Gabriele's live in-game blog providing instant analysis and game notes. Plus, get into the discussion as die-hard Cavs fans talk about the game on CavFanatic's GameDay Thread.

Programming Note

Tonight, FOX Sports Ohio is airing the Cavs – Hawks game (7:30 p.m.) and the Blue Jackets - Wild game (7:00 p.m.). Please refer to these programming details by clicking here.

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs head back to Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night to take on the Los Angeles Clippers at 7:30 p.m. ET.