GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Hawks

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Kyle Korver, Al Horford, Kyrie Irving
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (8-28) are back at Quicken Loans Arena tonight to take on the Atlanta Hawks (20-13) for the third of four regular season matchups. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Both teams come into tonight's game looking to end two-game losing streaks as the Wine and Gold fell to the Chicago Bulls in their last contest on Monday while the Hawks hope to bounce back from a loss in Minnesota last night.

Dion Waiters is averaging 19.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals in 33.0 minutes per game against the Hawks this season. In Kyrie Irving's only meeting against Atlanta this season, he posted a game-high 28 points, a season-high tying six rebounds, five assists, a career-high four steals and one block in 38 minutes.

In their last meeting in late December, Jeff Teague came up big for Atlanta, tallying 27 points and eight assists in leading the Hawks to a victory. Al Horford has put up consistent numbers against the Wine and Gold this season, averaging 14.5 points to go along with 11.0 rebounds.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - C.J. Miles, 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, (Vastus Medialis Split/Surgery, Out), Luke Walton, (Personal Matter, Out), Daniel Gibson, (Concussion, Doubtful), C.J. Miles, (Back Strain, Game-Time Decision)
(Hawks) - Devin Harris (Sore Left Foot, Questionable), Anthony Morrow (Right Hip Strain, Questionable)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cavaliers trail the all-time series against the Hawks, 110-94, despite posting a 59-45 mark in games played at home. Atlanta holds a 65-35 record in games played in their home arena. Cleveland is 11-6 over the last 17 home games against Atlanta.

The two teams split the first pair of games against each other this season with each team picking up a victory on the road.

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Attack the Basket

The Hawks rank sixth in the NBA in points allowed (95.1), 12th in opponent FG% (.443), and have allowed only three teams to shoot better than .500 in a game this season.

With that being said, the Wine and Gold need to take the ball strong to the basket tonight and not settle for contested jump shots.

In taking the ball aggressively to the rim, the Cavaliers should allow themselves more opportunities at the free-throw line. Since connecting on a perfect 14-14 from the foul line in their meeting with the Hawks on Dec. 28, Cleveland has made at least .800 of their free throw attempts in four of the last six games. Over that span, the Cavs are shooting a combined .839 (115-137) from the charity stripe. Furthermore, in their two contests against Atlanta this season, the Cavs have made 35-36 (.972) shots from the free throw line.

Key Matchup

Cavs bigs vs. Smith/Horford

Atlanta is 7-0 when Al Horford and Josh Smith record double-doubles in the same game. Horford has notched 17 double-doubles on the year (tied for fifth in the NBA) while Smith has put up 13 (tied for 22nd).

Cleveland boasts a double-double machine of their own in second-year man, Tristan Thompson. Thompson has recorded seven double-doubles in his last 10 contests and is averaging 13.3 points on .500 shooting, 12.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 36.0 minutes per game over that stretch.

The Cavaliers' bigs have done a solid job on the glass this season and will have to keep that trend going tonight against Smith and Horford. The Wine and Gold have tied or outrebounded their opponent in offensive rebounds in 27 of their 36 games so far, averaging 13.1 offensive rebounds per game (4th) to their opponents’ 10.6, which is 4th-lowest in the league. Cleveland also ranks 2nd in the NBA on the offensive end in second chance points (16.4) while ranking 6th in second chance points allowed (12.6).

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBA League Pass
Radio: WTAM 1100, XM & Sirius 85, NBA League Pass Audio

Broadcasting Note:
• Main FSOhio cable channel in all areas other than Cincinnati and Dayton
• FSOhio on Direct TV, Dish Network and AT&T
Cincinnati and Dayton: FSOhio is making the Cavs game available to providers to carry on the alternate channel: CLICK HERE