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Fear the Newsletter: The Cavs are getting closer to securing the No. 1

That and more in today’s newsletter.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Here's today's Fear the Newsletter, where we will always try to set you up like Kyrie passing to LeBron off the glass.

TALK TO ME: The Cavs had Thursday off, but got good news when the Celtics lost.

LEGEND HAS IT: The Cavs face the Hawks Friday in the first of two consecutive matchups between the teams. No Tristan Thompson for Cleveland, no Paul Millsap for Atlanta. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. at the Q. A win puts the Cavs two full games up on the Celtics with three games to go.

ALL DUE RESPECT: Hawks 123, Celtics 116. Wizards 106, Knicks 103. The Raptors, Warriors, Jazz, Rockets, Spurs and Clippers all had the night off.

The Cavs enter Friday 1.5 games up on the Celtics. They are also 3.5 games up on both the Raptors and Wizards. If the season ended today, the Cavs would face the Pacers in the first round.

JOB WELL DONE: The Cavs are doing a good thing at Friday's game. Here's a breakdown of some of the Cavs' best sets.

Also: Subscribe to the Locked on Cavaliers podcast. Today's show previews the Cavs' two weekend games against the Hawks.

CROWN: SI's Chirs Ballard has a great story on Monty Williams moving on and dealing with tragedy. ESPN's Kevin Pelton sorts through the MVP race with advanced stats. FourFourTwo's Matt Pentz has a fantastic feature up on how two former MLS players moved on from the game. The Athletic's Travis Sawchik on why Francisco Lindor will only get better as a power hitter. And SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell on how Kennedy Meeks went from out of shape to Final Four hero.

That's it for today. Drop your questions, comments and concerns to christopherwmanning@gmail.com and we'll talk again tomorrow.

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