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Cavaliers vs Hawks preview: Atlanta looks to extend streak in Kyle Korver’s return

The Hawks and Cavaliers have changed a lot since their first meeting in November.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks continue their homestand Friday night with a nationally televised matchup against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Hawks snapped a long losing streak against Cleveland in their first meeting back in November. However, both teams look quite a bit different now as Kyle Korver makes his first return to Phillips Arena as a member of the Cavaliers.

Atlanta defeated Cleveland 110-106 back on November 8 to snap a 12-game losing streak to the Cavaliers that included eight straight playoff losses. At the time the win didn’t mean much for Cleveland but it was good for the Hawks to get that streak off their backs. Dennis Schröder led the way with 28 points while Kent Bazemore added 25.

A lot has changed since then for both teams. Kyle Korver didn’t play in that first meeting and was later dealt to Cleveland in exchange for Mike Dunleavy and first round pick. After a slow start, Korver has found his groove with the Cavs averaging 11 points per game while shooting a crisp 50 percent from three-point range.

After two disappointing performances following the All-Star break, the Hawks have rebounded with wins over the Celtics and the Mavericks. Atlanta blew a 12-point lead to Dallas on Wednesday but scored the final six points of the game in a 100-95 win. Paul Millsap finished two rebounds shy of a triple-double.

Cleveland has dropped two of their last three games and fell to the Celtics on Wednesday despite a triple-double from LeBron James.

The Cavaliers will be without forward Kevin Love who is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season after knee surgery and J.R. Smith who is nearing a return after a thumb injury. Cleveland will have Deron Williams whom they recently picked up following his buyout from Dallas. The Cavaliers also signed center Andrew Bogut for the stretch run but he isn’t expected to join the team until this weekend.

Atlanta will be without Mike Dunleavy who remains out with ankle soreness.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Friday, March 3, 7 p.m. ET

Location: Philips Arena

TV: ESPN, Fox Sports Southeast

Radio: 92.9 The Game