The Cavaliers are back in the win column after a gritty win against the 76ers, and after a rare two days off, the team gets an easy matchup at home against the Hawks. Naturally, they’ll probably be in a nail-biter from start to finish, because they’re the Cavs. Also: Tristan’s back!
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (19-8) vs. Atlanta Hawks (6-20)
When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Enemy Blog: Peachtree Hoops
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Online: Fox Sports GO, NBA League Pass
Cavs injuries: Isaiah Thomas (OUT - hip), Derrick Rose (OUT - ankle), Iman Shumpert (OUT - left knee), Tristan Thompson (QUESTIONABLE - calf), Kevin Love (QUESTIONABLE - hip)
Hawks injuries: Dewayne Dedmon (OUT - leg), Mike Muscala (OUT - ankle), John Collins (OUT - shoulder), Luke Babbitt (PROBABLE - back)
Three keys to the game:
- The biggest key to the outcome of the game isn’t Tristan Thompson’s return, but it’s certainly the most interesting. Thompson will come off the bench. How will that affect the stellar chemistry the second unit has generated? What kind of minutes will he get? Will he play at all or will the Cavs give him another two days off? Who knows. Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see how quickly he can get himself back up to speed.
- As always, the Cavs will need to focus a ton of attention on Dennis Schroder. Schroder torched the Cavs so badly in their last game whether Jose Calderon, Dwyane Wade or J.R. Smith that the team was forced to put LeBron James on Schroder for the entire fourth quarter. The Cavs won’t do that on Tuesday night if they can afford it, but Schroder might force their hands.
- The Hawks are missing their most interesting and competent bigs pretty much across the board. It’s a bummer to get to see neither John Collins nor Dewayne Dedmon, and even Mike Muscala is useful. If Thompson and Love are good to go, it’s pretty clear they’ll have an advantage over the likes of Ersan Ilyasova and whoever the Hawks are forced to trot out in the frontcourt.
Jose Calderon was unplayable against Dennis Schroder in the two teams’ last meeting. Calderon is never going to have an advantage, but he has to lay off Schroder and force him to be a jump shooter because an open runway into the lane will make the Cavs night very difficult.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Cavaliers should win this one. Cavs 109, Hawks 104.