GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Hawks

Tristan Thompson
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold face the Atlanta Hawks tonight for their only meeting at Quicken Loans Arena this season. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Cleveland (10-17) is 5-2 in the last seven games at The Q where they are 8-5 on the season. The Cavs have held opponents to under 100 points in nine of 13 contests at home.

Furthermore, opponents are shooting just .426 at The Q this season, which is the 7th-best defensive field goal percentage for NBA home teams.

Atlanta (15-13) comes into tonight's matchup having won three out of their last four contests despite falling to the Miami Heat 121-119 in overtime during their most recent game on Monday.

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) - Dion Waiters, (Right Wrist Tendinitis, TBD)

(Hawks) - Cartier Martin, (Sprained Left Ankle, TBD)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

In the Dec. 6th contest against the Hawks at Philips Arena, Cleveland had just 11 turnovers and pulled down 16 offensive rebounds that led to 20 second chance points.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 95-112 against Atlanta (60-45 Home, 35-67 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Bench Production

The last time Cleveland played the Hawks on Dec. 6th, the Cavs had a 57-37 edge in bench points.

The Wine and Gold have the highest scoring bench in the Eastern Conference at 40.0 points per game (4th-best in the NBA) and has outscored the opponent’s reserves in 21 of 27 contests.

Key Matchup

Frontcourt Battle

With free agent acquisition, Paul Millsap, and All-Star Al Horford, Atlanta boasts one of the more talented starting frontcourts in the NBA.

The Hawks duo are two-of-three players (DeMarcus Cousins) in the NBA this season averaging at least 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks, with Horford being the only player in the league with those numbers while shooting .500 FG%.

Horford is putting up 18.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.5 blocks, 1.0 steals and .563 FG%, and Millsap is averaging 16.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks.

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

Thompson put up 17 points and six boards in 30 minutes against Detroit on Monday. Over his last 11 contests (since Nov. 30), he is averaging a double-double with 13.3 points and 10.6 rebounds in 31.5 minutes per game.

Varejao leads all NBA bench players in rebounds per game at 8.9 as a reserve. The Wild Thing comes into tonight’s contest just seven defensive rebounds away from passing Larry Nance (2,494) for 6th place in franchise history. He is also nine offensive rebounds away from passing Jim Brewer (1,292) for 3rd place and 19 total rebounds away from passing Jim Chones for 5th place in the team’s record books.

Bynum posted his 2nd double-double of the season against Atlanta in their last matchup with a season-high tying 20 points on 9-14 (.643) shooting, a season-high 13 rebounds (career-high tying nine offensive), two assists and two blocks in 27 minutes.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM & Sirius 217

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

Be sure to check 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.

Available Ticket Offer

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs travel to Boston to take on the Celtics at TD Garden on Saturday, December 28th at 1:00 p.m. ET.