GameDay Preview: Cavs at Hawks

Alonzo Gee
Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (22-50) travel to Atlanta (41-33) tonight to take on the Hawks at Philips Arena. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Wine and Gold have won two out of three matchups against the Hawks this season, including a 99-83 victory in the two teams' last matchup in early January.

In that game, the Cavaliers dished out 25 assists while only committing only 10 turnovers and shot a scorching 12-of-23 (.522) from beyond-the-arc.

Atlanta currently sits percentage points behind the fifth-place Chicago Bulls and 1 1/2 games in back of the Brooklyn Nets for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks opened a four-game homestand on Saturday with a 97-88 win over the Orlando Magic.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Shaun Livingston, SG - Wayne Ellington, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Tyler Zeller

Hawks: PG - Jeff Teague, SG - DeShawn Stevenson, SF - Josh Smith
PF - Ivan Johnson, C - Johan Petro

Injuries: (Cavs) - Kyrie Irving, (Rest/Recovery Protocol), Out), Anderson Varejao, (Vastus Medialis Split/Surgery, Out), Dion Waiters, (Left Knee Soreness, Out)
(Hawks) - Al Horford, (Stomach Illness, Questionable), Devin Harris, (Sore Left Foot, Questionable), Lou Williams, (Torn ACL, Right Knee, Out), John Jenkins, (Mild Concussion, Out), Zaza Pachulia, (Sore Right Achilles, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cavaliers trail the all-time series against the Hawks, 95-110, despite posting a 60-45 mark in games played at home. Atlanta holds a 65-35 record in games played in their home arena. Cleveland is 12-6 over the last 18 home games against Atlanta.

The last time the Cavaliers visited Atlanta, Alonzo Gee's putback layup in the final seconds gave the Wine and Gold a 113-111 victory.

STATS Fun Fact

STATSIn their last meeting against the Hawks, Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson led the team in touches with 80, seven more touches than Hawks point guard Jeff Teague.

Key to the Game/Key Matchups

Three-Point Shooting

As mentioned above, the Cavaliers were on fire from downtown in their early January matchup against the Hawks.

If the Cavaliers can space the floor with their outside shooting, the paint should open up for guards to penetrate and the big men to operate on the low block.

Conversely, the Wine and Gold should pay close attention to Hawks' marksmen, Kyle Korver. Kyle Korver is second in the NBA in 3FG% (.455) while ranking fourth in 3FGM (172).

Key Matchup

Alonzo Gee vs. Josh Smith

With the Hawks starting center, Al Horford, questionable for tonight's game, the Hawks most dangerous player, Josh Smith, has been moved to the small forward position.

Because of the move, Alonzo Gee will more than likely draw the assignment of having to guard the versatile Smith. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Smith is the only player in NBA history to boast career averages over 15.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.0 steals per game for his career.

If Gee can contain Smith, then it will give the Cavaliers a good chance at victory.

Although Gee is mostly known for his defense, the third-year pro is averaging a career-high 10.3 points per game while having played (and started) in all 72 games for the Wine and Gold this season.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBA League Pass
Radio: WTAM 1100, XM 219, Sirius 93, NBA League Pass Audio

Programming Notes

Cavaliers Live Pregame Show begins at 7:00 p.m. | Tipoff at 7:30 p.m.

• Cleveland, Youngstown/Erie, and Wheeling/Steubenville areas:
- Main FOX Sports Ohio cable channel
- Direct TV: FSOhio
- Dish: FSOhio
- AT&T: FSOhio

• Toledo, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton, areas:
- The game is being made available to providers to air on the alternate FOX Sports Ohio cable channels. Alternate channel information can be found here:
- Direct TV: FSOhio
- Dish: FSOhio
- AT&T: FSOhio