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Preview: Hawks, Cavaliers set for New Year’s Eve tilt

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Lauren Bacho/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers will battle on New Year’s Eve as both teams remain shorthanded during this bizarre time in the NBA. The Hawks have 12 players currently still in the NBA’s health and safety protocols dealing with Covid issues.

The Hawks are playing with just five of their actual players at the moment: Trae Young, Cam Reddish, Lou Williams, Clint Capela and Skylar Mays. Mays is a Two-Way player, and was not playing regularly whatsoever until this outbreak. Williams will be in his first game since clearing protocols so it’s unclear exactly how much he will play in this one.

Atlanta has fell to 15-19 during this period with a hardship riddled roster, not that they were clicking on all cylinders before. The Hawks have still suffered one of, if not the most unfortunate outbreaks in the league with nearly the entire roster crippled at various points. They will continue to try to navigate this tough stretch as several players have still yet to clear health and safety protocols.

Cleveland is 20-15 and still sits as the No. 5 seed in the East heading into play on Friday. The Cavaliers have had their own outbreak, but are only missing two players in protocols for this game. The Cavaliers have suffered some devastating injuries to their backcourt however and will be shorthanded in that area for this one.

Injuries

De’Andre Hunter (wrist) and Solomon Hill (hamstring) remain out for the Hawks.

Bogdan Bogdanovic, Gorgui Dieng, Delon Wright, John Collins, Jalen Johnson, Danilo Gallinari, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Kevin Huerter, Sharife Cooper, Onyeka Okongwu, Malcolm Hill and Malik Ellison are all in the league health and safety protocols, and are out for Friday’s game barring late unforeseen changes.

Cleveland has Darius Garland and Cedi Osman in health and safety protocols, while guards Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio have suffered season-ending injuries. Jarrett Allen (return to play conditioning) is probable, which is huge for the Cavaliers.

The Line

The short-staffed Hawks come in as 2-point underdogs vs. the Cavaliers as of Friday afternoon, for those who may be interested.

Game Info

Game Date & Time: Fri. Dec. 31, 7:30 pm ET

Location: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

TV: BSSE, League Pass (out of market)

Radio: 92.9 The Game

Streaming: Bally Sports App, League Pass (out of market)