Atlanta Hawks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Preview


Atlanta Hawks fans, we’ve had this game circled on our calendars since the NBA released the 2015-2016 schedule this past summer.

The Atlanta Hawks travel to Quicken Loans Arena to face Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals where the Hawks were unceremoniously swept into the offseason. Bad memories of the series still linger: J.R. Smith hitting 8 three-pointers in Game 1, Matthew Dellavedova ending Kyle Korver‘s season in Game 2, Al Horford getting ejected in Game 3 for a controversial Flagrant 2 foul (the list goes) on. Regardless of what occurred last postseason, this is a new chapter in the series between two of the top contenders in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks took last year’s regular season series 3 games to 1.

-= Related: Atlanta Hawks: Depth Crucial with Teague and Bazemore Out =-

The Atlanta Hawks enter Saturday’s game against the Cavaliers with a 9-5 record, good for third in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers are 9-3, and a game up on the Hawks for the top spot in the East. The Hawks are coming off a victory on Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings at home after losing three consecutive games previously. The team has not had the services of Jeff Teague for the past three games and Kent Bazemore for the past two, as both players are currently dealing with ankle injuries. Bazemore is ruled out for Saturday’s game, while Teague remains questionable. 

More from ATL All Day

The Cavaliers are off to a good start this season, with their most recent victory coming on Thursday against the Milwaukee Bucks by a score of 115-100. Lebron James leads the Cavs in scoring with 27.2 PPG. Cleveland will not have Timofey Mozgov in their starting lineup, as the center sustained an injury on Thursday against the Bucks. In his place, Anderson Varejao will get the call at the 5.

The Atlanta Hawks have a great chance to gain some momentum with a victory at the Q on Saturday against the Cavaliers. During the postseason, they were without Thabo Sefolosha, their best defensive player. Sefolosha will play tonight, and we can see a glimpse of what type of impact he could have made if he played in the Eastern Conference Finals. Without Kent Bazemore, Head Coach Mike Budenholzer stated that Paul Millsap will see time on the wing, leading to the belief that he will start his “big” lineup with Tiago Splitter at center, Al Horford at power forward, and Paul Millsap at small forward. We will also see Justin Holiday get extended minutes.

If Jeff Teague is unable to play on Saturday, Dennis Schroder will start his fourth consecutive game. On Wednesday, Schroder scored 22 points while dishing out 6 assists. Kyle Korver, who missed Games 3 and 4 of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, is also in the lineup, providing a glimpse of what impact he could have had in Games 3 and 4 last year.

Next: Atlanta Hawks: 4 Keys to Victory vs. Cavaliers

This is a difficult match up for the Atlanta Hawks, but they are capable of pulling off a victory on the road against the Cavaliers. If they can do so, the Atlanta Hawks will silence many critics that say they are not a contender and that last year’s 60-win campaign was a fluke. The Hawks and Cavs tip-off at 7:30 PM with Fox Sports Southeast handling the telecast.