GameDay Preview: Cavs at Hawks

Tristan Thompson
Scott Cunningham/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold will carry their 5-1 record over the last six games into Atlanta tonight where they will face the Hawks for the third and final time in 2013-14. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Since Feb. 7, the Cavs are 9-5 in their last 14 road games.

Tonight's matchup has major postseason implications as Cleveland (31-45) and Atlanta (32-42) battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Click here to view the current playoff picture.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Luol Deng
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Spencer Hawes

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

Status Update: (Cavs) - Carrick Felix, (Left patellar Stress Fracture, Out), Anthony Bennett, (Left Patellar Tendon Strain, Out), Anderson Varejao, (Right AC Joint Sprain, Questionable), C.J. Miles, (Left Ankle Sprain, Out)

(Hawks) - Al Horford, (Right Pectoral Muscle Surgery, Out), John Jenkins, (Lower Back Surgery, Out), Gustavo Ayon, (Right Shoulder Surgery, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The last time these two teams played on Dec. 26 at The Q, the Cavaliers shot 49-94 (.521) shooting from the field in a double-overtime affair. In that matchup, Cleveland outscored Atlanta 46-20 off the bench.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 95-113 against Atlanta (60-46 Home, 35-67 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Fast break Points

The Wine and Gold have had success recently on the offensive end due in large part to the increased pace and easy baskets being scored in transition.

Cleveland scored a season-high 25 fast break points in Wednesday’s win against the Magic, their highest since Feb. 7, 2011 (34 at DAL).

Over the last three games, the Cavs are averaging 16.3 fast break points to the opponents’ 4.7.

Key Matchup

Backcourt Battle

Getting All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving back in the lineup gave the Cavaliers another boost on Wednesday in Orlando. Irving had a strong all-around game in his return with 17 points on 7-8 (.875) shooting, six rebounds, a game-high eight assists and one steal in 28 minutes.

Irving's return opened up the floor for fellow backcourt mate Dion Waiters who poured in a game-high 26 points on 10-15 (.667) shooting, including a perfect 3-3 from the three-point line and three assists in 34 minutes on Wednesday.

Waiters and Irving have been dominant against the Hawks this season.

In two contests versus Atlanta this season, Waiters is averaging a team-high 25.0 points on .647 (22-34) shooting from the field and 3.0 rebounds in 38.5 minutes per game.

In the two teams' last matchup in December, Irving became just the 3rd player in Cavaliers history to total 40 points, nine assists and four steals in a single game.

The Hawks counter with the backcourt tandem of Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver. Teague and Korver complement each other very with Teague's ability to break down and penetrate the interior of defenses while Korver stretches the floor as a result of his superb perimeter shooting.

Both Teague and Korver came up big down the stretch in Cleveland on Dec. 26. With the Cavaliers leading 118-113 in double-OT, Korver converted a rare four-point play with 2:44 left. It began a 14-7 game-ending run by Atlanta that concluded with Teague’s jumper as time expired to give Atlanta a 127-125 win.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: 100.7 WMMS, NBA League Pass Audio, XM & Sirius 220

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.

Programming Note

On Friday, April 4th, FOX Sports Ohio is airing the Cavs – Hawks game (7:30 p.m.), the Reds – Mets game (7:00 p.m.) and the Blue Jackets - Blackhawks 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 Charlotte Bobcats at 7:30 p.m. ET. Buy Tickets