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Preview: Hawks take on struggling Cavaliers in Cleveland

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

The Atlanta Hawks (13-17) take on the Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday evening, looking to make it two straight wins, and three-of-four overall, after a good win Sunday night vs. the Denver Nuggets. Cleveland comes into the contest losers of ten straight, so they will be about as desperate for a win as an NBA franchise can get one third of the way through the regular season.

Cleveland has a ridiculously bad 125.6 defensive rating over that stretch, and a -21.3 net rating. To say they are struggling is putting it very mildly. The Hawks did however lose to the Cavaliers at home earlier this season, a game that was the second night of a back-to-back for Atlanta. The Hawks led by 12 at half, but had a slew of second half turnovers and only scored 35 points in the final two quarters of the loss.

Atlanta now sits 12th in the NBA in offensive rating (112.2 points per 100 possessions) while ranking 22nd in defense (112.4 points allowed per 100 possessions), seemingly aligning closer to preseason projections of the Hawks having a above average offense and a below average defense.

Trae Young has been on a rampant tear of late, averaging 35.3 points and 11.3 assists over the last three contests. Atlanta won two of those games, with a Friday night loss to the Celtics sandwiched between wins over Boston (Wednesday) and Denver (Sunday).

In the coaching department, Lloyd Pierce appears set to rejoin the Hawks after a three-game hiatus due to the birth of his second child.

In the injury department, Atlanta remains without De’Andre Hunter, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kris Dunn, while Cam Reddish (right Achilles soreness) is listed as probable and Rajon Rondo (low back pain) is listed as questionable after missing the last seven games.

For Cleveland, they will be without Kevin Love (right calf strain), Andre Drummond (team seeking trade), Larry Nance (left hand fracture), Taurean Prince (left ankle soreness) and Matthew Dellavedova (concussion).

The Hawks are currently 7-point road favorites in Cleveland for those interested. Atlanta has a chance to fight their way back towards the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference, and in order to do so, beating teams like the Cavaliers seems like a must. Stay tuned for all of the action this evening.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 7:00 pm ET

Location: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass (out of market)

Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network

Streaming: Fox Sports Go