Things feel a ton better around Cleveland after the Cavs used a 57-point performance from LeBron to defeat the Washington Wizards. The woeful Hawks come to town, but knowing the Cavs history with Atlanta, they shouldn’t take them too lightly.
Who: Atlanta Hawks (1-8) at Cleveland Cavaliers (4-5)
When: 3 p.m. ET
Where: Quicken Loans Arena
Enemy Blog: Peachtree Hoops
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Online: Fox Sports Go
Cavs injuries: Isaiah Thomas (OUT - hip), Iman Shumpert (OUT - right knee), Tristan Thompson (OUT - calf)
Hawks injuries: Mike Muscala (OUT - ankle)
Three keys to the game:
- Will the Cavaliers try in this game? They’ve put together terrible efforts against the dregs of the league while rising to the occasion when they’ve played better squads. They’ve beaten the Celtics, Bucks and Wizards while dropping games to the Nets, Pacers and Magic. The Magic and Pacers have played well this year, but they’re still games the Cavs should win.
- Dennis Shroder is going to be tough to contain off the dribble in this one. The Cavaliers did an okay job at corralling John Wall, and they’ll have to wall off the paint for Shroder’s dives to the rim. Meanwhile, Taurean Prince is active off-ball and Kent Bazemore has enough juice off the dribble to hurt the Cavs as well.
- Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder both played the best games of their young Cavaliers careers against the Wizards. Rose got to the rim at will and caught a couple nice passes from LeBron James in transition that led to nice finishes. Crowder was a pest defensively and active offensively, earning plenty of trips to the free throw line to generate a very efficient night. Those two need to find rhythm if the Cavs are going to play well, especially while the team waits for Isaiah Thomas to return.
The Cleveland Cavaliers vs the Cleveland Cavaliers. This should be an easy win for the Cavs. They’re better, the Hawks are in an absolute tailspin, and the Cavs had Saturday off so they shouldn’t be too burnt out from the Wizards game. Their worst enemy in this game will be their own apathy and focus level. They need to compete against that if they want a win.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Cavs should roll in this one. Cavs 109, Hawks 97.