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Game #76 - Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers Game Night Open Thread

2009/2010 NBA Regular Season
48-26 59-16
April 2, 2010
Quicken Loans Arena
8:00PM et
Radio - WTAM 1100 / ESPN; FSOhio
Probable starters:
Mike Bibby PG Mo Williams
Joe Johnson SG Anthony Parker
Marvin Williams SF LeBron James
Josh Smith PF Antawn Jamison
Al Horford C J.J. Hickson

This has become quite a fun rivalry the past year or so. Ever since the Cavaliers swept the Hawks out of the playoffs last season, Atlanta has been gunning for them. The edge to this series took another turn during a back-to-back, home and home series was swept by the Cavs earlier this season. In other words, the Hawks thought they gave a couple of games away and they want some revenge.

The Hawks are on their way to their first 50-win season since 1997-98, but need to prove they can beat Cleveland. Both meetings this season were tight, but the Cavaliers won 95-84 in Atlanta on Dec. 29 behind 20 points from Mo Williams, then got a season-high 48 from LeBron James a night later in Cleveland to win 106-101.

The Cavs trailed by as many as 17 in the second half of the most recent meeting before rallying. The Hawks weren't just upset with their late collapse, but also with the shot clock, which failed to reset after an offensive rebound with 1:41 left -- costing Atlanta an estimated five seconds.

The Hawks, who got 35 points from Joe Johnson, issued an appeal for the final seconds to be replayed but were denied.

Atlanta is also playing for playoff position. They are currently the #3 seed in the East - 1 game ahead of Boston - and they would like to stay there.

For Cleveland, the Magic Number to clinch home court throughout the Playoffs stands at 2. With Atlanta in Cleveland tonight, followed by Boston on Sunday, the Cavs could wrap it all up at home this weekend.

3-in the Key

1. Cleveland owns the NBA's best overall record at 59-16 (.787), best home record at 33-4 (.897) and best road record (26-12, .684) and leads the league with highest point differential at +7.3. The team has won 16 of their last 18 games and is 33-8 (.805) in 2010, which is the best mark in that span. With Wednesday's win over Milwaukee, the team secured the second-most wins in franchise history with 59, trailing only the 66 wins from last season. The win also led to a 13-2, .867 month of March for the Cavs, which matched the third-best month in team history, based on winning percentage, trailing only last season (16-1, .941) and Feb. 1993 (12-1, .923) and tied with Nov. 2008 and Dec. 1998.

2. Since Head Coach Mike Brown took over the helm in 2005-06, the Cavs have a NBA-best 58-19 (.753) record in March, including a 38-4 (.905) record at The Q. They are also a perfect 26-0 against the Eastern Conference at home, which includes an undefeated 11-0 home record against the Central Division during that span. In addition, Cleveland has now won 19 consecutive home
games in March.

3. After going a league-best 66-16 (.805) last season, the Cavaliers could 1.) become the first team since the Chicago Bulls in 1995-96 (72-10) and 1996-97 (69-13) and only the fifth team in the last 19 seasons to have sole possession of the best record in the regular season in consecutive years. The team can also potentially make more NBA history by 2.) holding the best home and road record in a season, 3.) winning 65 games in consecutive seasons and 4.) holding the best home record in consecutive seasons.