The preview today will be short. Since this is the third game between the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the matchup has been discussed in previous previews. Anderson Varejao needs surgery for a torn a thigh leg and will be out for the next 8 to 10 weeks, leaving Kyrie Irving as the only main threat, just as was the case weeks ago when these two teams met.
As a whole, the Cavaliers still struggle in all facets (bottom 5 in both offensive and defensive efficiency) and tonight is the perfect opportunity for a better Hawks team to get on track.
Keys to the Game:
1. Stop Kyrie Irving’s penetration. He has become a prototypical pick and roll point guard that can set up Tyler Zeller and Tristan Thompson for finishes after slipping screens. In addition, he has the vision to find three point shooters resting in the corner, such as CJ Miles and Daniel Gibson, both shooting north of 39% from beyond the arc.
2. While stopping his entry to the paint, follow Irving above screens so that he cannot get off long threes. This one is self-explanatory as he is shooting a robust 41% from beyond the arc. Furthermore, he thrives from a multitude of step-back moves to create space without even needing a pick to aid him.
3. Don’t sleep in transition. Cleveland has a few very athletic players that can be lethal in transition, like rookie Dion Waiters. The Hawks must get back in their half court defense and let a bad Cavalier offense make mistakes.