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What to watch for in Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks

The free-flowing, scrappy Cavs will search for their seventh win in a row.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers (24-15) will take their six-game winning streak into a Saturday night matchup in Atlanta against the Hawks (18-23). Cleveland is fresh off a nationally televised 40-point demolition of the visiting Milwaukee Bucks, while the Hawks have won three straight including last night against the Miami Heat. The Cavs’ last matchup against Atlanta, a 127-119 win, came immediately after they learned Darius Garland and Evan Mobley would be out for an extended period. Since then, the Cavs have gone a blazing 11-3.

Who: Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks

Where: State Farm Arena - Atlanta, GA

When: 7:30 p.m. EST

TV: Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports Southeast

Spread: Cavs -2.5

Expected Cavs Starting Lineup: Donovan Mitchell, Isaac Okoro, Max Strus, Dean Wade, Jarrett Allen

Cavs Injury Report: Caris LeVert (wrist, DOUBTFUL), Darius Garland (jaw, OUT) Evan Mobley (knee, OUT), Ty Jerome (ankle, OUT), Emoni Bates (G League, OUT), Isaiah Mobley (G League OUT)

Expected Hawks Starting Lineup: Trae Young, Dejounte Murray, Saddiq Bey, Jalen Johnson, Clint Capela

Hawks Injury Report: Kobe Bufkin (G League, OUT), Mouhamed Gueye (stress fracture, OUT), De’Andre Hunter (knee, OUT), Vit Krejci (shoulder, OUT), Wesley Matthews (calf strain, OUT)

What to watch for: Isaac Okoro on Trae Young

For his short career, Trae Young has been a thorn in the Cavs’ side. The 25-year-old dropped 35 points in the last matchup against Cleveland and, for his career, has averaged 26.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 9.4 assists against the Cavs. Young’s extreme shooting range and passing abilities (he’s second in the league in assists per game) make him difficult to guard, and even more difficult to fully limit his impact. Enter Isaac Okoro.

Okoro gets a lot of flack from fans for his inconsistent shooting, but he deserves some praise. He held Damian Lillard to 1-9 shooting from the floor Wednesday night, dulling any potential impact and preventing the Bucks from even attempting to keep up with the Cavs. Against Young, Okoro’s size will help clog passing lanes and prevent some pull-up shots. The backline with Dean Wade and Jarrett Allen will help as well, offering a good safety net. But bodying up Young, like he did with Lillard, is essential for the Cavs to come out with a win.

What to watch for: Jarrett Allen keeping things rolling

Jarrett Allen has been playing like an All-Star for over a month at this point, and the Cavs will need his stout presence against a tall Atlanta frontcourt. Allen has been a double-double machine:

One stat to watch for: Glass battle

Both of these teams are excellent on the glass, the Cavs being sixth in the league and the Hawks seventh. Cleveland’s work on the glass has steadily improved throughout the season, even with losing Mobley, and Atlanta recently got back young power forward Jalen Johnson. Add in Onyeka Okongwu and Clint Capela and the Hawks have plenty of bodies that could make rebounding difficult for Cleveland. The Cavs certainly lost games last season because of their poor rebounding, so winning tonight on the glass will be important.

It is worth noting as well that Atlanta ranks first in the league in offensive rebounds per game. Giving the Hawks extra opportunities is a sure-fire way to lose a basketball game, no matter how could your offensive or defensive rating is.