The Cleveland Cavaliers head down south to play the fourth-and-final game of the season against the Atlanta Hawks.
Cleveland is currently on the wrong side on a season-worst eight-game losing streak, but are 2-1 against Atlanta this season. They also just got back star point guard Kyrie Irving on Sunday in New Orleans.
The 2013 3-point king had a terrific return, scoring 31 points in 28 minutes of action. Irving finished 11-of-20 shooting, including three-of-five from downtown, and hit all six free-throw attempts. He also had six assists and two rebounds.
The Hawks don’t like facing the Cavs when Kyrie’s on the court. He missed the first meeting of the season on Nov. 30, a game ATL lost at home 113-11, but was a monster in the second and third matchups.
On Dec. 28 in Cleveland, Irving tallied 28 points, on 12-of-20 shooting, in 38 minutes of action. He hit four-of-seven 3-pointers and also stuffed the stat sheet with six rebounds, five assists, four steals and one block. However, the Hawks won 102-94.
On Jan. 9 in Cleveland, he was even better. Irving dropped 33 points, on 11-of-15 shooting, in 33 minutes of play. He hit all six free-throws and also five-of-six 3-pointers, while adding four assists, three steals and one rebound. The Cavs won 99-83.
The Hawks need to win tonight’s home game to even the series 2-2, and also to keep up in the playoff race. They’ll get a boost with all-star caliber Al Horford returning to the lineup.
Atlanta is currently tied with Chicago for the #5 seed, and sit just 1.5 games behind fourth-place Brooklyn.
Who?: Atlanta Hawks vs Cleveland Cavaliers
What?: Series Finale (Game #75, Home Game #37)
Where?: Philips Arena (Atlanta, GA)
When?: Monday, April 1, 2013 – 7:30 PM (EST)
How?: SportSouth HDTV / 93.7 FM
Projected Starting Lineups:
PG: Jeff Teague | SG: Devin Harris | SF: Kyle Korver | PF: Josh Smith | C: Al Horford
PG: Kyrie Irving | SG: Wayne Ellington | SF: Alonzo Gee | PF: Tristan Thompson | C: Tyler Zeller
Injury/Inactive Players Report
Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford (stomach illness) is questionable. John Jenkins (mild concussion), Zaza Pachulia (Achilles surgery) and Lou Williams (torn right ACL) are out.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Anderson Varejao (vastus medialis split/surgery) and Dion Waiters (left knee) are out.
Current Records/Streak & Hot, Lukewarm, or Cold
Records: Atlanta Hawks (41-33) … Cleveland Cavaliers (22-50)
Streaks: Atlanta Hawks –> OVERALL: Won 1 / HOME: Won 1 / ROAD: Lost 1 … Cleveland Cavaliers –> OVERALL: Lost 8 / HOME: Lost 4 / ROAD: Lost 5
Home/Away Records: Hawks are (23-13) at home … Cavs are (9-27) away.
Atlanta Hawks: Temped. The Hawks have developed a pattern of winning a game, then losing the following game over the past 10 contests. They won Saturday at home against Orlando. If the pattern continues, Atlanta loses Monday.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Cold. The Cavs are on the wrong side of an eight-game losing streak, including five straight on the road. Kyrie Irving just returned from injury, which is huge because he’s killed Atlanta this season, but this is still a game the Hawks should win — especially since it’s in the ATL.
Season/Past Season Series
Cleveland visits Philips Arena for the second time this year in the fourth-and-final battle with the Hawks. The Cavaliers own a 2-1 record against Atlanta, including the first meeting at Philips Arena, 113-11, on 11/30. The teams split two games in Cleveland, with Atlanta winning 102-94 on 12/28 and dropping a 99-83 decision on 1/9. Jeff Teague is averaging 19.0 points in three games against the Cavs this year and Al Horford is putting up 14.3 points and 9.0 rebounds (two double-doubles). The Hawks lead the all-time series 110-95 (65-35 at home).
LAST MEETING — CAVS 99, HAWKS 83 — QUICKEN LOANS ARENA (CLEVELAND,OH) — 1/9/13
The Hawks were down 29-28 after one but struggled offensively in second quarter, putting up only 12 points and falling behind 49-40 at halftime. An 11-2 run to open the second half evened things up at 51 but Cleveland ended the third on a 15-5 spurt, pushing the lead to 77-63 with 12 minutes to play. Atlanta managed to get it down to a nine point deficit in the final frame but the Cavaliers pulled away from that point. Josh Smith scored 17 points (also a season-high six blocks) to lead the Hawks. Jeff Teague scored 15, Al Horford 14 and Kyle Korver 12, while Zaza Pachulia added eight points and 10 rebounds. Kyrie Irving paced the Cavs with 33 points (11-15 FGs, 5-6 3FGs, 6-6 FTs), with Tristan Thompson (11 points/14 rebounds) and Tyler Zeller (11 points/12 boards) supplying double-doubles. Cleveland hit 12-23 3FGs on the night and 13-20 from the free throw line, while Atlanta managed 7-22 from distance and 2-5 from the charity, setting the franchise record for fewest FTM in a game, while tying the franchise-low for FTA.
Larry Drew coached under Byron Scott in New Jersey, and was a teammate of Scott’s with the Lakers. C.J. Miles was teammates in Utah with Kyle Korver (2007-10) and parts of two seasons with Devin Harris (2011, 2011-12). Lou Williams and Marreese Speights played together in Philadelphia, while Al Horford and Speights teamed together at University of Florida. Anthony Tolliver was with the Cavs in 2007-08 but did not see any regular season action. Cleveland GM Chris Grant is a former Hawks front office executive.
Information was used from the Hawks and Cavaliers official gamenotes