GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Hawks

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Alonzo Gee, Josh Smith
Scott Cunningham/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (7-23) are back at Quicken Loans Arena to take on the Atlanta Hawks (17-9) for the second of four regular season matchups. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Both teams come into tonight's contest looking for their third straight win following victories on Wednesday night - the Wine and Gold knocked off the Washington Wizards, 87-84, while the Hawks defeated the Detroit Pistons, 126-119, in double-overtime.

Kyrie Irving had a strong all-around performance in the win over Washington as he finished with a game-high 26 points (20 in the first half), six rebounds, a game-high eight assists and two steals in 37 minutes. The sophomore guard has scored 20 or more points in 13 of his 19 games played this season and is averaging a team-high 22.9 points in 35.5 minutes per game.

Josh Smith recorded 31 points to go along with 10 rebounds against the Pistons and leads the Hawks on the season in scoring at 17.0 points per game.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Tyler Zeller

Hawks: PG - Jeff Teague, SG - Lou Williams, SF - Kyle Korver
PF - Josh Smith, C - Al Horford

Injuries: (Cavs) - Anderson Varejao, (Right Knee Contusion, Out)
(Hawks) - Devin Harris (Sore Left Foot, Doubtful)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cavaliers trail the all-time series against the Hawks, 109-94, despite posting a 59-44 mark in games played at home. Atlanta holds a 65-35 record in games played in their home arena. Cleveland is 11-5 over the last 16 home games against Atlanta.

In their last meeting on Nov. 30th at Philips Arena, Alonzo Gee made the game-winning putback layup with 0.3 seconds to go to give the Cavs a 113-111 road win and snap Atlanta’s six-game winning streak. (see picture above)

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Turnovers

In their win on Wednesday, the Cavaliers took good care of the ball, totaling just 10 miscues on the night. Conversely, they forced the Wizards to turn over the ball 20 times and converted their miscues into 19 points. It marked the fifth time this season the Cavs forced 20 or more turnovers. Cleveland is now forcing 15.7 turnovers per game, which is the 6th-most in the NBA this year.

Atlanta also does a good job pressuring offenses as they are third in the league in forcing 16.7 turnovers per game, and third in steals (9.1). On the other end, the Hawks rank fifth in the NBA in assists per game at 22.9 and have had only three contests where they failed to dish out at least 20 dimes. Atlanta has recorded assists on 61.8% (596-965) of their made baskets on the season, fourth in the league.

A key to tonight's game will be turnovers, providing defensive pressure while taking care of the basketball on the offensive end.

Key Matchup

Cavs bigs vs. Smith/Horford

Atlanta is 7-0 when Al Horford and Josh Smith record double-doubles in the same game. Needless to say, the Cavs bigs will have to contain the Hawks tandem in the paint. Fortunately for the Wine and Gold, the Cavs' young post players have been playing solid, consistent basketball of late.

In the win over Washington, Tristan Thompson posted his fourth straight double-double (9th on the season) with a season-high 15 points, a game-high 12 rebounds and one block in 37 minutes. Over his last four contests, Thompson is averaging 13.0 points on .500 shooting, 12.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 36.8 minutes per game.

Tyler Zeller has started in each of the last four games and has averaged 12.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.0 block in 35.3 minutes over that stretch.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBA League Pass
Radio: WTAM 1100, XM 222, Sirius 93, NBA League Pass Audio

Tonight's Promotions

  • Theme: Kids Postgame Free Throws
  • Giveaway: Wild Thing Wig Giveaway (first 10,000 fans)
  • Family Packs: Includes four Cavs tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas starting as low as $79 – or $19.75 per person, for a $41 savings! Buy Tickets
  • Friday Night Out: Grab a best friend, girlfriend or just someone from the office and enjoy two tickets plus a loaded ticket value starting at $50. Buy Tickets