The Cleveland Cavaliers are on the second half of a back-to-back, squaring off with the Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta's currently jockeying or position in the standings with the Heat, Hornets and Celtics but the three seed is in reach. They should be motivated to win this one.
The Cavs are coming off an easy win hosting Brooklyn. Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and LeBron James all sat the entire fourth quarter, so they should be relatively fresh heading into Friday's action. As always, it's hard to guess how motivated they'll be.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs Atlanta Hawks
When: 8 p.m.
Where: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Where to watch: ESPN
Enemy Blog: Peachtree Hoops
Music: Plea from a Cat Named Virtute - The Weakerthans
What to Watch For:
- The Cavaliers played really, really well together on Thursday night. After a sluggish opening frame, the ball was pinging around and the gang was playing very unselfishly.
- Love had a nice night shooting from distance to help bolster the Cavs during a night where a lot of their three-point shooters weren't really on. That was helpful, and ideally for them, he'll be able to stay hot.
- This Hawks team doesn't particularly scare me in the postseason, but they're a scary regular season team. They punish lazy defense, and if the Cavs aren't locked in for what's an admittedly tough schedule break, they could really make it rain from three.
- Irving's play is still a little inconsistent, though he was ill for Thursday's game. Ideally, he can find something approaching a strong rhythm, especially from three-point land, before the playoffs.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
Vegas knows this is a tough spot for the Cavaliers, and they've adjusted appropriately. The Hawks are 2.5-point favorites, which is honestly a little surprising. Cleveland's rarely been an underdog this year. It's only the 8th time this season, and they're 6-1 against the spread as an underdog, so I like their chances there.
I think the Cavaliers go out and win this one in tight fashion.
Cavaliers 109, Hawks 105