Daily Confidential

Playing on the road has been a burden for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, but that hasn't been the case when they visit the Atlanta Hawks.

Cleveland looks to start turning around its road woes on Wednesday and win in Atlanta for the sixth straight time.

Although the Cavaliers (15-11) have one of the better records in the Eastern Conference, they are just 3-8 on the road. It's the worst road record in the league of any team that's above .500.

Eleven of their next 14 games are away from home.

Cleveland has lost four straight and seven of eight on the road, but its only win in that span came against the Hawks (9-17) on Dec. 1.

The Cavaliers are averaging 84.3 points on 37.5 percent shooting during their four-game road skid since shooting 52.6 percent in their 106-95 win at Atlanta.

LeBron James has averaged 33.6 points in Cleveland's five victories in Atlanta since losing his first game there on Nov. 22, 2003.

He has 65 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists in two games against the Hawks this season. The Cavs also lost to Atlanta 104-95 in overtime on Nov. 7.

James scored 32 points in Cleveland's 86-83 win over Orlando on Saturday to snap a three-game losing streak.

He made seven of his first eight shots in the final 12 minutes, and in one stretch scored 13 straight points en route to a 19-point fourth quarter - one more point than Orlando had in that period.

``We saw the LeBron we saw a lot last year,'' Cavs coach Mike Brown said. ``It was good to see him put us on his back and will this win for us. He's a guy when he puts his mind to it, he's going to win ballgames for us.''

Cleveland once again shot poorly on Saturday, but managed a season-high 23 offensive boards and 51 total rebounds. They shot 40.0 percent against the Magic, and are shooting 38.2 percent in their last four games while going 14-for-49 (28.6 percent) from 3-point range.

``Our offense is killing us right now,'' James said. ``In the past it had been our defense. We've never had problems on offense like we're having.''

The Hawks have lost eight of nine, and also are struggling offensively as a result of a slew of injuries.

Atlanta was missing five injured players, including four of its six leading scorers, in Saturday's 108-81 loss to Detroit.

The Hawks trailed by nine at halftime before wearing down in the second half. They shot 36.3 percent - their worst effort in nearly a month - to lose their fourth straight.

``It's tough when you are missing three starters and another two guys that are averaging 28 points off the bench,'' Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said.

``We have a few days to regroup and hopefully we get some guys back before we play Cleveland.''

While Josh Childress (foot), Speedy Claxton (back), Tyronn Lue (groin) and Zaza Pachulia (elbow) could be back for this game, Josh Smith is sidelined indefinitely after recently undergoing hernia surgery.

Smith averages 12.9 points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds.

The short-handed Hawks hope leading scorer Joe Johnson returns to form after an awful performance Saturday, when he had a season-low 12 points on 6-for-16 shooting. Johnson went into this week averaging 27.7 points to rank sixth in the league, two spots ahead of James (27.0 ppg).

Johnson has scored 56 points on 20-of-40 shooting against the Cavs this season.

Copyright 2006 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited